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Energy Saving Tips for Computer Users

IMPORTANT: The suggestions outlined below do not apply to the computers or audio visual equipment in the Lecture Theatres and Shared Student Computer Laboratories. These machines are required to be on for remote software deployment and maintenance and when not required are switched off by ITS only.

The following information briefly discusses some of the simple things you can do to conserve energy. Not all the advice given here will be directly applicable to all users so user discretion is advised.

Why Save Power?

Power management of computer equipment and monitors has the potential to save significant amounts of electricity as well as deliver other economic and environmental benefits. The average desktop PC (and monitor) will consume approximately 150W of power when in use. Left running 24 hours a day, seven days a week each computer will consume a total of 1314kWh/year (about $185 at domestic rates), multiply that by  all the machines on the Massey network and you are getting close to $1,000,000.

Most users around the university leave their computers and monitors turned on 24 hours a day - even though they are only in use for part of that time. No one expects computers to be switched on only when in use and turned off every time you leave your desk. However, you can turn your computer off before you go home. Assuming you have worked a full day the computer will be off for fifteen hours  or more before you return the following day - an immediate saving of 60%. If you allow for holidays and weekends the saving is closer to 75%.

How can I save power?

There are several easy things all of us can do:

  • Turn off your  local printer, scanner or any other devices when not in use.
  • If leaving the office for more than an hour, turn off your monitor.
  • Leaving for longer? Consider shutting down your computer.
  • Leaving for the day? Turn your computer, monitor and other devices off.

Putting Your Computer on Standby or Hibernate

There are two basic options for putting your laptop to sleep when you're not actively using it, but don't want to completely shut it down—Standby or Hibernate.

Standby is energy conserving, because your entire computer switches to a low-power state. Devices, such as the monitor and hard disks, turn off and your computer uses less power. It's easy to return to work, because Standby leaves applications and files open on your desktop. Standby is perfect when you're going to be taking a break and you want to quickly pick up exactly where you left off after wards. Standby is not appropriate for long term use—on many laptops, overnight is probably pushing it on standby. And it has one important limitation—everything is in memory, not yet saved to the hard drive.

Note: Standby can also known as “Sleep mode” and may be available as ‘Sleep’ in the Windows Shutdown menu instead of Standby

Hibernation

This mode allows your computer to save the contents of its memory and the system state to a file on the hard disk before shutting itself down.

Once turned on again the computer will read the contents of the file, restore the contents to memory and resume the system as it was when the system was powered down. This means that all your running applications and open documents are preserved exactly as they were before your computer entered hibernation mode. This doesn't mean you should stop saving your documents, but it does save you the hassle of having to open everything again when you want to get back to work. It takes a bit longer than Standby, since it needs to write to your hard drive. Hibernate also takes a bit longer to resume. The advantage is that you can leave your laptop in Hibernate mode for days without any ill effect. When you start it back up, you'll see everything exactly as you left it. Hibernate is the perfect mode for shutting down for the night or even the weekend.

Enabling Hibernation Mode

  1. Open the Control Panel (Start => Control Panel)
  2. Depending on how your control panel is setup either :

    - Select Performance and Maintenance and then select Power         Options
    - Or select Power options
  1. Click on the 'Hibernate' tab
  2. Select 'Enable Hibernation' and click 'OK'.

    PowerSavtips1.jpg

The option to hibernate will now be added to your shutdown options menu so you can select it when you 'Shutdown...' from the Start menu.

Power Schemes

Power schemes allow you to set the savings your computer will make over a period of time when the computer detects that it is not in use. Initially your computer will make only minimal savings as you might come back any minute and want to continue your work - so it turns your monitor off. Stay away longer and your hard drive/s will power down. You even have the option of getting your system to go into Stand by /hibernate automatically after a specified period of inactivity. The way you configure your system is up to you - and if it doesn't suit perfectly you can always adjust it.

To set up a Power scheme:

  1. Open the Control Panel (Start => Control Panel)
  2. Depending on how your control panel is setup either
    - Select Performance and Maintenance and then select Power Options
    - Select Power options
  3. Set the required time intervals for the options you wish to enable. You can set any interval between ‘5 hours’ and 'Never'.

PowerSavtips2.jpg

Power Schemes

Power schemes allow you to set the savings your computer will make over a period of time when the computer detects that it is not in use. Initially your computer will make only minimal savings as you might come back any minute and want to continue your work - so it turns your monitor off. Stay away longer and your hard drive/s will power down. You even have the option of getting your system to go into Stand by /hibernate automatically after a specified period of inactivity. The way you configure your system is up to you - and if it doesn't suit perfectly you can always adjust it.

To set up a Power scheme:

  1. Open the Control Panel (Start => Control Panel)
  2. Depending on how your control panel is setup either
    - Select Performance and Maintenance and then select Power Options
    - Select Power options
  3. Set the required time intervals for the options you wish to enable. You can set any interval between ‘5 hours’ and 'Never'

PowerSavtips3.jpg

4.  Click OK

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