Technology on standby significant contributor to global warming

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Did you shut your PC down before you left work on Friday night? A recent PC Energy Report has shown that one in five white-collar workers left their work computer on overnight at least three times a week. That’s around 2 million computers and wastes £100m worth of electricity. Even some computers on standby or ‘hibernate’ mode still use a significant proportion of electricity.

87% of employees had never been asked to shut down their PC at night, nor did they make use of energy saving software to cut power use.

According to the report, if everyone turned their computer off when not in use (generally overnight) it would contribute to 10% of the total energy savings were expected to make under the Government’s climate change levy.

Reasons given by surveyed employees included that ‘no-one else did it’, that it wasn’t important, they simply forgot, or that they were worried about losing their work.

I know shutting down a PC can be a pain, as can waiting for it to power up the next morning, but really it doesn’t take much. Even shutting off the monitor rather than leaving it on standby or displaying a screensaver would be a start. If shutting down completely is too much hassle then at least hibernating the machine would save power.

Given that businesses are expected to save energy, and that they’d also save money, I’m surprised more don’t ask employees to shut down their machines, or enforce it. Surely it’s worth the extra 5 or 10 minutes it takes each day?

Other energy wasting culprits include TVs left on standby, and mobile phone chargers left plugged in once the phone is fully recharged.

It’s an important issue that doesn’t require huge amounts of effort to do something about. What do you think?

Andy Merrett

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