Computer Power Management and Energy Savings

A typical desktop computer consumes about 125 to 140 watts of power when in use. Today's computers come with advanced power management capabilities that can reduce energy consumption if users properly enable and configure these features.

ITS recommends that all computer users take the following steps:

Configure your monitor to turn off after 10 minutes of inactivity. If your computer does not have this option, for example Windows NT systems, turn off your monitor when not in use. Savings can be realized with all types of monitors but especially if you are using a CRT. This may be the single most important step that a user can take to reduce energy consumption. Savings can be as high as 30%. Also: DO NOT use screensavers. Screensavers actually continue to use the monitor at full power and do not conserve energy.

Configure your hard drive to turn off after 30 minutes of inactivity. This will result in additional energy savings.

Configure your computer to enter System Standby mode after one hour of inactivity. When in Standby mode, your computer will consume about 5% of its normal power. This preserves the state of your applications. Restart time is minimal.

Power down. In the past it was thought that the shut down and restarting of computers harmed the machine. Today, however, computers are made to handle over 40,000 shut down cycles. Users can power down each night. Because power will continue to "trickle" to your computer even when turned off, you must also turn off your power strip and/or UPS unit to completely power down your computer.

At a minimum all users should configure their machines to enter Standby mode at night and all users should power down on weekends.

Detailed instructions by Operating System for manually activating power saving features are here.


ITS also encourages you to use duplex (two-sided) printing whenever possible. ITS will be changing the default on most printers to duplex in the near future. This action can save the college a significant amount of paper. Contact ITS to determine if your printer is capable of duplex printing.

Be sure to check out Information Technology Services' recycling options.