Off topic: Do you know how much energy your computer uses?
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:53
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Jan 31, 2008

Yesterday our local newspaper published results from an official research into electricity sonsumption of private homes.
The researchers were surprised, how much normal computers and electronic devices eat energy.

Do you believe, your desktop computers uses as much electricity as a light-bulb? Think again!

On average desktop computers in private homes use 500 kWh per year. Average! That is more than a refridgerator needs.
If you let your computer run day and night it eats as much electricity as when a family uses twice a week their sauna!

Laptops consume only 25 kWh per year, average use.
But if you use only laptops and think, all is well, think again!
A broadband modem consumes yearly 50 kWh and your printer 20.

Did you believe, that refridgeration and washing machine are the main consumers of eletrical energy in you home, think again!

In many homes home electronics for entertainment (tv, dvd, recievers, game-boxes etc.) use as much energy as 4 (four) refridgeration units.

Of course it has to be pointed out, that all this consumption of energy is dissipated as heat. So if you live in a cold country and heat your home with electricity, these electronic devices help to heat your home and reduce the need for actual heating in winter.

But if you live in a warm country, where you have to cool your living quarters, the heat from your electronics costs you double. First when they eat electricity and second when you have to cool more.

This seems extremely important when considering poor countries, that struggle for every drop of oil.

How to save energy?

Connect your equipment to an extension cable with built-in power switch. Then its easy to switch the devices on and off as you need them. With laptops this is even more useful, since you do not have to boot after switch-on. The laptop can wait days without recharging.

After recharging batteries do not let the charging unit plugged into the wall socket. Most chargers use enery also when not charging and are quite warm when idle. This can save your in one year the money for a new mobile phone!


Local time: 15:53
English to Chinese
Oh? Jan 31, 2008

It's really that much? I thought it's 0.2-0.3W/hour? Or more?


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:53
English to French
+ ...
Impressive! Jan 31, 2008

Thanks, Heinrich, for this eye-opener. I am surprised - I knew TVs and sound systems were worse than most people think - but I didn't think they were THIS bad! And computers seem to be even worse!

Time to rationalize the power in my office...

Thanks again!


Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:53
+ ...
Bad news Jan 31, 2008

Thank you Heinrich. I always thought computers were energy-efficient. I was dead wrong it seems.


Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 10:53
English to Russian
you think it's high? Jan 31, 2008

Yearly energy consumption in regular home is some 7000-8000 kWh or more. 500 kWh is a drop in the ocean.


Jennifer Hejtmankova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 09:53
Member (2007)
Czech to English
+ ...
Every little helps... Jan 31, 2008 the Tesco slogan goes...

We just got our end of year electric bill and were shocked. The original owners of our home installed halogen spots everywhere in the living room and kitchn, and I know those gobble energy like mad...want to switch to LED's ASAP.

Basically anything you own which has a little power or status light on it which is lit up is sucking energy.....look around at all your power adapters which are plugged in but not connected to anything...tiny bits, but over the course of a year they add up...I run around the house all the time now turning off lights!icon_smile.gif


Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:53
German to English
+ ...
Screen saving Jan 31, 2008

Years ago, I asked the energy company why the bill had gone up. First question: "Do you have a screen saver?" I did and it went right away.

TFT flatscreens are also big savers.

I didn't know about the phone chargers - thanks for that!

See also:


Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:53
English to French
rating of computer power block Jan 31, 2008

the output of my desktop computer power block is 430W, so I suppose this is what I consume when not idle: 7x60W lightbulbs or a halogen floodlight. Switched on 12 hours 6 days a week, it means 1500kWh/year. I don't take into account stand-by and energy-saving features.
More powerful desktop computers (such as those required to run Vista or gamers computers) have powerblocks up to 800/1000W, which means they consume about as much as a hoover or an iron. Amazing.

Just checked my electricity bills: the household consumes 3300kWh per year. No heating required here (log fire only)

And yes, stand-by devices/appliances do burn oil, coal, gas or nuclear fuel. That's why I switch everything off at night, and nevermind the various clocks and programmed data that are lost.

Also, you don't always need a car to go from point A to point B 1 kilometer away.

Thank you Heinrich for bringing this up. It's indeed a drop in a ocean, but little creeks make up large rivers. Anyway we're doomed in the long term, are we not?


[Modifié le 2008-01-31 11:25]


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:53
English to Dutch
+ ...
Can't really relate to the sauna-thing... Jan 31, 2008

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

If you let your computer run day and night it eats as much electricity as when a family uses twice a week their sauna!

Of course it has to be pointed out, that all this consumption of energy is dissipated as heat. So if you live in a cold country and heat your home with electricity, these electronic devices help to heat your home and reduce the need for actual heating in winter.

How to save energy?

I can't really relate to the sauna-thing; perhaps one has to be Finnish for that...

Also, heating your home with electricity consumes a lot of energy. In NL, most homes are heated using natural gas, which is much more efficient.

But point taken! I agree, one should be aware of this and reduce energy consumption as much as possible.


Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:53
Italian to English
+ ...
I was wondering about this yesterday Jan 31, 2008

I'd be very interested to know if anyone's done a study of the environmental impact of teleworking (therefore with home heating, lighting and computer on all day) compared with that of normal office working. If we were doing the same job in an office, the impact of the computer would presumably be the same although the heating and lighting might work out as less per person (in a shared office).
Then there'd be the impact of driving to work - although I've always used public transport, a bike or my own legs, except when I was teaching.

So I'd imagine that it would work out at about the same in the end, job for job.

[Edited at 2008-01-31 12:24]


Local time: 10:53
English to Russian
+ ...
Plug in a modern laptop Mar 12, 2008

If you keep a modern laptop plugged in instead of a desktop (you can attach USB keyboard and mouse + LCD monitor), you can easily save 300-400 watts per hour.


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