Electrical and computing grids

A conservative estimate is that 9.4% of total US electric consumption is from computers. This includes data servers and PCs, but not printers, scanners, faxes and the endless rechargeable devices that access the Net.

Too many devices continue to draw power even when turned off. The best way to ensure that the power is really off is by having the power cords plugged into a power strip, then turn off the power strip.

Or get a smart power strip, and let it turn things off for you. Until devices get smarter and don’t draw unneeded power, that is.


  1. Yep, when we audited our energy use, we found computers drew a lot more than we thought. Computer experts tell us never to shut our computers down. That’s got an environmental cost to it.

    BTW, it’s worth noting that 4% of world oil production goes into plastic grocery bags. Just one more example of how convenience (like always-on computers) is killing us.

  2. Anybody got a way for automatic powering up? I’m trying to cut our electrical usage, and during the night is certainly one way of doing it, although it’s a big tricky with a network. I’d be very interested in hearing actual experiences, either here or off line via email.

  3. When we reviewed our usage, we discovered that the bulk of our power is used by computers, monitors, and printers. A desktop with flatscreen, a laptop, an inkjet and a laserjet drew 2.1 Kwh per day before we started shutting them down when idle. We’ve got that down to about 0.7 Kwh per day.

    We can keep our router and modem (est. 12 watts each) up for 16 hours for about an additional 0.4 Kwh per day. If we wanted to, we could put them on a timer. But it’s hard to shut them down each time we shut down the computers because our wireless service is finicky.

    BTW, our scanner (a Canon USB variety) draws a miniscule 2 watts.

    Our network doesn’t require a server. If it did, I’d try something like “Timed Shutdown,” a freebie which claims to be able to shut down and reboot your computer at specified times. (I have NOT tried it.)

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