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Configure Your Computer to Save Money and Energy

Are your computers and monitors left on when not in use? If so, you’re wasting money and energy. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. businesses waste more than $1 billion a year on electricity for computer monitors left on when not needed. These wasteful practices are also responsible for the unnecessary production of millions of tons of greenhouse gases every year. Fortunately, there is an easy fix.

Everyone can save energy and money by enabling the power management features in their computer’s operating system. With over 55 million office computers in the country, the EPA estimates that over 11 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity could be saved through monitor power management alone. This amounts to enough energy to power more than one million households for a year and prevent the emissions from 1.5 million cars.

Many people think they are already saving energy because they are using a screensaver. Contrary to popular belief, screen savers do not save electricity. They were originally intended to eliminate permanent lines etched into cathode ray display screens when left on and idle with a single image on them for long periods.

Changing the operating system setting to put the monitor into “sleep” mode after it has been idle for several minutes will save money and the screen, as well as carbon dioxide emissions. Turning your computer off completely when not in use results is increased data security, since files and email messages cannot then be accessed by unauthorized users.

The EPA offers free software that will automatically put your computer monitors to rest when not in use. This monitor power management will not affect computer or network performance, and a simple touch of the mouse or keyboard “wakes” the machine within seconds. When you power your computer equipment down it generates less heat, collects less dust, reduces mechanical stress and promotes a longer and more reliable life for the computer and monitors. Plus, you’re helping save significant amount of energy and money.

To download the free computer power management software, go to and search for “Power Management.”