PC owners urged to manage power use and save money

Power management tools can yield annual energy savings of US$25 to $30 per desktop, says energy efficiency group

Tom Block, president of the green-focussed computer reseller Block Data Systems, said his company builds "mobile on desktop" computers for companies to reduce their energy use. They are small form-factor PCs built from the more energy efficient components designed for laptop computers.

His other tips for cutting PC energy use: enable power management and hibernation features, turn PCs off when they are not in use, and replace CRT monitors with LCDs.

Almost all of California's utilities offer rebates for using energy-saving IT products, and about 30 utilities nationwide have joined Bramfitt's coalition to promote their use. PG&E has been the most aggressive in offering rebates, in part because it is home to so many giant technology companies and data centers.

"I've seen a statistic that one-fifth of the Internet traffic in the world passes through Silicon Valley, and that's why we have the issues we have," he said.

Cutting energy use in PCs only becomes more urgent as their use becomes more widespread.

"We've got around a billion people in the world using PCs right now," Bramfitt said. "If we get the other four to five billion hooked up then we'll really have an issue on our hands."

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