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Since computers are in use more hours per day than they used to be, making your computer more energy efficient is becoming increasingly important.  Not only will not only go easy on your wallet, but you get to help out the environment as well.

Here are 5 ways you can help to decrease power consumption on your computer.

1. Tweak Google to Save Power

blackle

Blackle was created to provide a front end to Google, but with a black background.  Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black.  A given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen, so you get all the goodness of Google and with all the additional environmental benefits.

Yes, the difference a single computer makes is small, put together, this small tweak to Google has a potential to save 750 Megawatt hours a year.  As of now, they’ve already saved more than a million watt hours with this tool!

The whole concept of Blackle is slightly controversial though and it has its detractors.  This Wall Street Journal article claims that only older CRT monitors will see any benefit from the site.

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2. Optimize Windows and Track How Much CO2 You’ve Saved

so2

CO2 Saver is a free toolbar released by Snap and is a lightweight application that runs in Windows. It adjusts your Windows power settings so that your computer, monitor and hard drive consumes less electricity when you’re not actively using them (similar to what you could do by adjusting your power options in Windows).

It then calculates how much power is saved, and converts it into pounds of CO2 emissions prevented by having the toolbar installed.  You can see the amount of CO2 saved by yourself and all toolbar users together so you can view the collective effort and what you have contributed to it.

At the time of writing, users of this tool have collectively saved more than 850,000 lbs of CO2!

3. Use Energy Efficient Products

energystar

Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products.  When you buy electronics, look for the logo (pictured above) or ask for similarly certified products.  This ensures that you’ll get something which is pretty much efficient in its class.

4. Use LCD monitors rather than CRT

Some sources quote CRT monitors as consuming 250% more power than LCD screens of similar size.  So if you’re looking to cut down on the power bill, consider dumping that old monitor and moving on to a less power hungry LCD which incidentally would also be much sexier looking on the table, and deliver crisper sharper images than a CRT.

5. Adjust Your Computer Settings

Whether you’re using a Mac OSX or Windows, you can adjust your settings accordingly so your system can power down when you’re idle.  On Windows, go to Control Panel then power options to fine tune when you want your computer to turn down the hard disk, monitor, or go into standby mode.

On a Mac, go to System Preferences, then Energy Saver pane, and then Sleep to adjust your energy saving settings.

So there you have it, five simple ways you can help save power on your computer. What methods do you use? I’m curious to know. Tell us in the comments!

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