If you're running Windows Vista, you can get a rough idea of your PC's carbon footprint by downloading and installing the free version of Stardock's TweakVista. In the power setting section you can find a cost and carbon footprint calculator. Enter your device's CPU, video card, hard drive, and monitor information and how many hours you leave it running and TweakVista will tell you how much you're spending to keep your PC running in the whee hours of the morning. It will also tell you how many pounds of carbon based fuels it takes just for you to download whatever it is you download at 2 in the morning.The calculator's a bit rough around the edges. There's no option to enter information about your WiFi card, for example. But it should give you a pretty good estimate. If you're not running Windows Vista, we'll just let you know that odds are your computer is using more than 100 watts per hour.
Many computer users don't like to turn off their computers because they believe it will bring them hardware problems or they just don't want to close their open programs or simply they don't want to wait for the startup process.
But leaving the computer on when you finish your work might not help to prevent any hardware or software problems, and it is also wasting energy and money.
If you don't feel comfortable turning off your computer when your work is done, then it is a good idea to use the Power Options that a computer offers.
If you are using Windows, go to the Control Panel and find the Power Options icon. There you can set up some options according to your needs.
I suggest you set up to turn off the monitor after 10 minutes and your hard drives after 30 minutes. Monitor and hard drives are the biggest power consumption devices of a computer.
And if you don't like to wait for the Windows startup process, then using the Stand By or Hibernate mode is recommended.
Stand By will switch your computer to a low power state. It will use less power and when you are ready to continue working, it won't take long to startup again. This is recommended for your short breaks from work.
Hibernate shutdowns your computer almost completely but it will save an image of what you have been working on to the hard drive. This is recommended for longer periods of time, even overnight.
Both Stand By and Hibernate are good options to lower the power consumption of your computer and save you some money. And for both options, when you start your computer again, you will see everything as before you left.
Also I do not recommend using screen savers. Using a screen saver is making the computer work, therefore consuming more power.
If you are using a laptop, two ways to reduce power consumption is to turn off your wireless card if you are not using it, and reducing the brightness of your monitor. This can also help your battery last longer.
If you don't feel comfortable messing with the Power Options, there is a software called Local Cooling. This software is completely free and it will optimize your computer's power consumption by using a more effective power save mode. It will also keep showing you how much energy and how many trees you have saved because of using that software. To download it please visit www.localcooling.com By reducing your computer's power consumption you will also reduce your energy bill and CO2 emissions. You will also be saving trees and helping the environment.
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