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Configuring Your Computer to Help the Environment

According to the EPA, if 1,000 computers where configured to automatically shut off the monitor and computer when they are not in use this would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 350 tons per year. That is the equivalent to removing 60 cars from the road. See http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=power_mgt.pr_power_mgt_low_carbon for more information.

The recommendations include:

  • Setting monitors to enter sleep mode after 5 to 20 minutes of inactivity.
  • Setting computers to enter system standby or hibernate after 30 to 60 minutes of inactivity.
  • Don't bother with the "Turn off hard disks" option when connected to AC power as the savings are trivial.
  • Don't use screen savers; just have your monitor enter sleep mode.

If you have a laptop, be sure to establish these settings for both battery and plugged in modes.

Remember, the lower the settings, the more energy you save.

To help, Dartmouth has created a utility which will automatically configure your computer to these recommended settings. Follow the instructions below to configure your computer:

  • Download the Power Settings Wizard to your desktop, then double-click the downloaded file.
  • Answer the questions as they appear.
  • After clicking Finish in the Wizard, restart your computer.

Last Updated: 9/24/10