- The average laptop uses only half as much energy as a desktop PC.
False. The average laptop does a lot better than that -- it consumes one fifth the
energy of a desktop PC.
So, if you're going to own only one computer, seriously consider a laptop
instead of desktop model. If a laptop won't work for you, think
about whether you really need the biggest desktop you can afford or
whether you might be able to get by with what's known as a "small
form-factor" PC. These smaller machines are designed to take up less
space on your desktop, but they have the advantage of drawing
less power, too.
- Using a screensaver conserves energy when your computer is idle.
False. Screensavers were never designed to save energy. They were actually
intended to prevent "phosphor burn in" on CRT
screens (and, these days, on plasma screens). Nowadays,
they function primarily as a form of entertainment on PCs.
However, setting your display to blank out after a period of inactivity
can make a difference. Best to forgo the pretty pictures, though.
- As personal computers processors get more powerful,
they likewise increase their power demands.
False. Although each generation of microprocessors is speedier than the previous one, smart engineering
means that they often also use less energy at the same time. For example, Intel's Core 2 Duo
desktop processor is up to 40 percent faster
and more than 40 percent more energy-efficient than its single-core predecessor.
- The EPA's Energy Star efficiency criteria
only consider the energy a PC uses while it's in standby mode, which means that almost all current
PCs qualify as Energy Star compliant.
False. Although this used to be true, Energy Star criteria were
updated by the EPA in 2007 to consider power-consumption
requirements when a machine is idle and when it is fully powered on.
These more-stringent rules mean that far fewer computer models
can qualify as Energy Star compliant. Visit energystar.gov
to find out which PC models currently make the grade.
- More than 80 percent of the lifetime energy
consumption of a PC occurs before you buy it.
True. Not only does manufacturing a PC use a lot of energy,
it also usually requires ten times the PC's weight in
fossil fuels and chemicals, most of which are toxic.
So, even though you might be tempted to get a new
PC every three years (as the average person does), the longer you can keep
your current PC in service, the better for the environment.
- Only ten percent of all computers are recycled.
True. Although some major computer makers such as Dell, Apple, and HP are
stepping up to the plate with much-improved recycling programs,
a distressing number of PCs and CRT monitors are still discarded curbside.
It's up to consumers to take more responsibility.
- Constantly shutting down and restarting your computer during the day would consume
more energy than just leaving it running.
False. The surge of power that a PC uses to boot up is far
less than the energy it uses when left on for more than three minutes.
If practical, shut down your PC when you're not using it.
- Both Windows and Mac computers can be configured
by their users to be more power-efficient.
True. It's worth learning how to configure the energy-saving settings
on your computer, but the vast majority of people never do. Windows XP users should click the Start menu,
chose Control Panel from Settings, and then click Power
Options (if you have Windows Vista, which offers even better
control of power settings, you should be able to access
the power settings directly from the Start menu). Mac OS X users can find the
Energy Saver settings listed under System Preferences.
- If your PC goes into low-power/sleep mode, you
will lose your network connection.
False. Newer PCs are designed to sleep
while remaining on networks to prevent loss of data or connection.
- Computer gamers tend to use
more energy than non-gamers.
True, mostly. Actually, it's not the gamers that use more energy.
It's the PCs that work best for playing games. The powerful high-end graphics cards that render
those mind-blowing 3D graphics can easily exceed 100 watts, and
a dual-card setup will double that wattage. If you have a souped-up PC
in your household that's primarily used for gaming (you know who you are!),
shut it down when you're not playing.