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How Much Electricity Does a Computer Use? Go Green to See Green

written by: Steve Mallard•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/19/2010

How much electricity does it take to power a computer? And how much money is that costing you? Find out how to save energy and money on electricity bills with some green computing tips.

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    Home Computer Usage

    So how much electricity does your computer use? Computer & Monitor 

    The average home user:

    • Typical computers use 60-500 watts on average.
    • With the given figure, a computer will use an additional 35-150 watts of electricity with a LCD or CRT monitor.
    • Technically this is 95-650 watts of power on a typical computer being used.

    How to go green:

    • In order to save electricity on your home computer, don't use a screensaver!
    • Allowing your computer to sleep and hibernate is the most energy efficient method for saving this resource.
    • Screensavers use the same electricity as a computer being used, as the screensaver uses both the GPU and CPU on your computer.
    • With the monitor on, there is no savings.
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    Business Computer Usage

    Average Power Consumption:

    • Desktop Computers 60 -500 watts
      • Sleep or standby 2-6 watts
    • Laptops 15 -60 watts
    • Monitors 100 – 150 watts
    • Monitor LCD 35-45 watts
      • Sleeping Monitors and turned off monitors can use 0-15 watts.

    Maxium business consumption:

    A business with 400 computers can use 260,000 watts of power or more per hour (maximum usage).

    An average eight hour day equals 2,080,000 watts per day or 2080 kilowatts.

    The average cost per kilowatt hour was 11 cents in April 2008 across the United States. (A kilowatt hour is if a kilowatt is being used continuously for one hour.) This would equal greater than $4500 per month for your company’s computers alone at max usage. The odds of this being true (400 computers at max) is slim.

    Average business consumption:

    Generally the average is 120 watts per computer or 48,000 watts for all computers per hour. A typical day is 384,000 watts or 384 kilowatts. This would equal greater than $840.00 per month on average.

    How to go green:

    Given these basic amounts, small businesses could save hundreds of dollars each month:

    • Set all computers to hibernate and use standby.
    • Personnel should be trained to turn off monitors when not in use.
    • Information Technology managers should look at replacing servers as money permits.
    • The savings alone could pay for the replacement equipment.
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    Additional Green Computing Recommendations

    It's easy enough to make your computers use less energy. Use your computer's power management options to power it down when it's not in use. Should you need to manage the settings of multiple computers, power management software such as Faronics Power Save can help you do so efficiently. And, finally, be sure to Fight the Phantoms!

    Photo Credit: Jeremy Banks