Stop using standby for monitors

We can all do our bit to save electricity. Be it switching off standby on our monitors, shutting down PCs or disconnecting unneeded devices from the power supply.

When you come into the office early in the morning, you often see an orange LED light glowing on the monitors – this means that the devices are in standby mode.

Don’t use standby: Who knows the exact figures?

Our colleague writes: “Let’s assume one standby consumes five watts: with 100 monitors and at least 12 hours of daily standby time, that ends up being well over 2,000 kWh per year. This is about half the annual consumption of a four-person household. And that’s a conservative calculation, because on weekends and holidays each screen is in standby mode 24 hours a day.”

It only takes a little adjustment or acclimatisation

There are certainly some of us who simply don’t shut down our devices in the evening out of convenience, so as not to have to restart everything again the next day.

Switching off the monitor:

  • is easy to do (push button is easily accessible at the front)
  • does not damage the monitor
  • takes up hardly any (working) time, because the monitor also starts up again quickly when switched on

In addition to reduced electricity consumption, it is also good for the carbon footprint. All in all, a very simple but rather effective contribution to the environment (and the wallet).

Basic tips

  • When leaving the workstation (for meetings, lunch, etc.), put the computer to sleep or standby mode and turn off the monitor.
  • Shut down the computer after work and turn off the monitor
  • Switch off or unplug unneeded devices in the office or lab when you don’t need to access these from home
  • Set the computer’s power management to the shortest possible switch-off and standby time.
  • Do not use moving screensavers, as they prevent standby mode
  • Obtain switchable multiway connectors with a switching mouse (also see the post “Saving energy with power distribution units“)
  • Use “standby killer” power distribution units, to which, for example, devices without a battery – such as desktop PCs– are connected: It is not good to simply “kill” devices by switching them off directly at the power supply. This may cause you to encounter unpleasant surprises at the next start-up (recovery, bluescreens, etc.).

Consistent energy-efficient use of a workstation computer can result in electricity savings of up to 30% (source: Master’s thesis Ch. Mäder 2010).

What are your tips for saving energy?

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