Personal computers, printers and other peripheral consume a significant amount of energy at the University of Massachsuetts Boston campus.  As part of the energy conservation and cost savings efforts ITSD (Information Technology Services Division) is recommending the following steps be completed:

 Green Tips—Computer Energy Savings

Every time we leave on computers when not in use, we are wasting electricity. Following are a few simple tips to consider:

  • Turn off all desktop computers and peripheral devices, including monitors and storage media devices, at night and during any prolonged absence such as weekends or vacation time. Turning off the equipment at night can cut the annual energy costs from 100 to 400 kWh per computer. Contrary to popular belief, turning equipment on and off does not shorten the life span of computers or related equipment.
  • Computer manufacturers provide Energy Star power-management features that allow you to program your computer to go into "sleep" mode after a certain time interval. Information Services recommends that you set your power management to turn off your monitor after 10 minutes and your hard disks after 20 minutes. See Power Management for PC and Mac instructions for setting power management.
  • Limit screen-saver use. A screen saver does not save energy. In fact, more often than not, a screen saver not only will draw power for the monitor, but also will keep the CPU from shutting down. You can set your computer to go from screen-saver to sleep mode.


Myth or Fact

Over the years, several myths have created barriers to energy saving actions. Some of the common ones are explored below:

Myth: Screen savers save your screen.

Fact: Screen savers were originally developed to prevent the permanent etching of a pattern on older monochrome monitors. The same protection occurs when you place the monitor in a low power “sleep” mode. Avoiding the use of screensavers on LCD and CRT displays can reduce power usage while away from your computer by 30-75 watts.

Myth: Computers have a shorter life when you turn them on and off frequently.

Fact: Hard disks in PCs older than 10 years did not automatically park their heads when shut off, leading to disk damage from frequent on/off power cycling. Newer PCs are designed to handle over 40,000 on/off cycles, a number unlikely to be reached during an MIT computer’s typical four-to-six-year life span.

Myth: Turning your computer off uses more energy than leaving it on.

Fact: The surge of power when a computer is turned off lasts a few seconds and is insignificant compared to the sustained energy used in keeping it on during periods of inactivity.

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