How to reduce computer energy consumption

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Have you been wondering how to reduce computer energy consumption? Throughout this article, we’ll help you save on your energy bill.

Computers are present in every home nowadays. There’s no doubt that around half of our energy consumption is due to the use of digital devices. The electricity that these machines swallow up can make a major difference in your overall power consumption.

If you’re looking to control the power usage of your personal computer, then there are dozens of ways to do so. Each one contributes a certain amount of change in consumption and some might seem insignificant, but remember that drops of water make a mighty ocean.

How to reduce computer energy consumption

In today’s read, we’ll be showing you a list of methods to reduce the energy your PC uses. But before that, we’d like to give you an insight into the root cause of the problem you’re about to deal with.

What consumes the most energy on your PC?

Whether you’re coming tight on electricity bills or just want to contribute to the well-being of the environment, the reason behind your PC’s heavy energy consumption could be anything. Your computer is a complex machine that is designed to help you with your everyday tasks. It is also possible that your PC might be consuming energy when you least expect it.

You’ll have to dive deep into the settings to find out what might be the reason behind this over-consumption. In terms of components, your machine’s microprocessor takes the most energy as compared to the rest of the components.

This, of course, happens due to the microprocessor holding the burden of every ounce of computing that your computer  gets done. By performing billions of calculations within a second, there’s no surprise in the fact that processors require a massive amount of energy to keep things working smoothly.

Check out our awesome article on File sizes and their conversions explained: kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes and much more!

Now, the rest of the PC’s operations are powered by the processor. If you can minimize the distribution of processing power that a program takes, you can cut off energy consumption to a great extent.

The second component is none other than the GPU itself, which often reaches the processor’s level of energy usage in gaming machines. Well, being a gamer has its perks but it’s hard for PC gamers to get a hold of their electricity bills.

Why you should take measures to control energy consumption

Now, we all know that nobody likes an electricity bill that has skyrocketed above the charts, but is that the only reason to worry about when it comes to energy saving? The answer is no. Another significant reason why you should pay attention to your computer’s power usage is carbon emissions.

So, here’s the thing, the more energy we use, the more carbon is released into our atmosphere. This boosts climate change which is responsible for dangerous natural disasters all over the planet. According to a study at EnerGuide, a computer that runs for around 8 hours/day is responsible for around 175 kg of CO2 emission per year.

Furthermore, computing activities all over the world are responsible for around 2% of total carbon release into the atmosphere. Therefore, we recommend it’s about time you go green. The importance of minimizing energy consumption is backed up by two heavy reasons, electricity costs and carbon footprint.

How much power does your computer consume?

This is a frequently asked question regarding this subject that is often given no importance. Despite being a key reason why you would want to limit energy consumption, the answer to this query is simply too uncertain. Your PC’s energy usage relies upon several factors.

From the type of hardware to the amount of usage, it is quite difficult to come up with a straight answer for this one. Since different users have different uses, the amount of energy being consumed varies a lot.

However, what most people fall for is the “stand-by deception”. As the name suggests, it is a popular belief that having electronic devices on stand-by does not result in the consumption of energy.

On the contrary, they do take up energy, but just 1/3 of what they consume when they’re fully functioning. So, you already know one way of saving energy. We are here to tell you more!

How to reduce computer power consumption

Here are the top methods of minimizing the amount of energy your PC consumes. The sequence of these methods is according to their energy efficiency in getting the job done.

Get rid of external connections

The top causes of additional electricity usage do not actually come from your CPU. Instead, they come from what sits around your computing machine. We’re referring to that printer you leave on after printing your documents, the loudspeaker you leave on after listening to music, and that external webcam that you keep connected.

These external devices can attract loads of power towards themselves and be the cause of high electricity bills.

It is highly recommended that you start by disconnecting these devices and turning them off whenever you don’t plan on using them. As for necessary external devices, such as the mouse and keyboard, keep them connected because they don’t take up much power.

Manage power settings of your PC

Windows gives you a relatively vast range of options to choose from when it comes to power options. Other operating systems offer energy-saving modes as well. You can either turn on these modes or head on down to your power settings and adjust them accordingly.

Windows 10 allows you to set a sleep timer and power consumption to minimize energy usage too. Explore these power saving features on your PC and see how you can take measures to get the most out of your computer without taking up too much energy.

Display options such as shortening the time period until the PC goes to sleep will greatly affect your PC’s overall power expenditure.

Shut down your machine

If you’re one of those who tend to leave their PC hanging for hours, then you have to stop. It doesn’t take more than a minute to save progress. Even if you’re worried about your work getting lost if you shut down, try opting for alternate methods such as sleep or hibernate.

In sleep mode, your PC shuts down the system temporarily. This saves energy and once you turn it back on, it will launch quickly and everything will be as you left it.

As for the hibernate mode, the power consumption is lower than sleep mode. Before going into hibernation, your PC saves its state into the memory and restores it again when you turn it on. This practice takes a while but is highly recommended as an alternative for shutting down.

Ease out on the brightness

The screen brightness levels are one of the major factors in determining the amount of energy your machine uses to function. Your computer monitor might be taking up more electricity than the CPU. This happens when the brightness level is too high.

Not only is that bad for your eyes but it also takes a toll on your electricity usage. A simple reduction of brightness from 100% to 70% can save up around 20% of additional energy. Remember, you don’t want to lower it too much either since it can also harm your eyes. Instead, try to keep moderate levels of brightness.

Lastly, if you’re still using a CRT monitor, upgrade to an LCD monitor right away. LCD screens can save up to 80% of energy as compared to a CRT.

Eliminate background processing

You’d be surprised to see an overview of the computing that goes on even when you’re not using your running PC. Background programs are constantly running and draining power.

Components such as GPU, RAM, HDD all have somewhat of an equal share in assisting background functioning. In most cases, these programs are not even necessary to run at the back of your PC.

So, here’s what you’re going to do. Launch the Task Manager where you’ll find a list of programs that are currently running. You can dismiss them to save power. If you face trouble in eliminating unnecessary background processes, then follow our short set of instructions below.

  • Type “Task Manager” on the Windows Start Menu. Launch the Task Manager application;
  • In the first tab, you’ll find a list of programs currently running on your computer;
  • Right-click on the program you want to dismiss. Click on “End Task” to stop it from running in the background.

How to reduce computer energy consumption

Upgrade your computer’s hardware components

This is one of the most important and efficient methods of minimizing energy consumption. Old hardware components were not designed to hold from draining power. Newer hardware not only gives you an upper hand over saving power, but also give you better performance.

An easy way of finding out which hardware is best for you is to look for the amount of cooling it would need. The more cooling up it needs, the more power it will consume.

Furthermore, you can find hardware components that specialize in giving you good results without taking up too much power. An upgrade from an HDD to an SSD is a fitting example here. This approach has its cons of being heavy on the pocket, but if you’re looking for a long-term solution, then we suggest you start by upgrading your PC’s hardware.

Switch to a laptop computer

When it comes to the factor of energy-saving, mobile computers leave desktop computers way behind in the competition. Laptops usually consume around 20-60 watts of electric power whereas desktop computers can use up to a whopping amount of 120-200 watts.

Although other factors have a role here too, overall, a laptop is the winner if we’re talking about the subject of energy consumption. This is since mobile computers comprise components that are designed to consume less power.

A laptop has to run on a battery; therefore, it makes sense that its components do not drain high levels of power. Laptops even have better power-saving features than a desktop computer.

Use portable devices whenever you can

If you’re the type of person who does everything on your computer, then it’s time to change that. In this age where smartphones and tablets can do pretty much everything your average PC does, consider using portable devices to get stuff done.

This way you’ll be saved from constantly launching your PC to send an email or attend an online class, which will result in less electricity consumption. As we mentioned above, portable devices that run on battery have a far better rate of power consumption as compared to desktop computers. So, you should hop on to your PC only when you really have to.

Change your PC usage habits

Whether you use screensavers or keep your PC running overnight for heavy downloads, you’ll certainly have to change your usage habits. Unless the above-stated ways don’t work out for you, then your best bet is to turn towards the minimal approaches.

Download an energy-saving browser, try avoiding software that uses too much processing power, and always look out for low-wattage alternatives.

All of these small steps taken together can bring big changes. A sudden change of habits might seem to be a burden, that is why we recommend you slowly cut out practices that would play a role in additional energy drainage. You’ll certainly notice a significant change in your bills as well as your PC’s performance.

Wrap Up

Cutting off habits that pose a threat not only to our planet but also to our pocket is the way to go. Before we say goodbye, a pro tip we’d like to give you is to look for computers that comply with Energy Star’s standard power management.

The Energy Star is a symbol that grades computers according to their ability to deliver the maximum output while consuming minimal power.

Besides upgrading your devices and looking for alternate options, you’ll also have to make permanent changes in your daily-life habits. Hopefully, our energy saving tips help you in cutting energy costs and making the planet clean and green again.