May 10

Shut Down vs Sleep Mode on Computers: Which Saves More Energy and Money?

Computers are one of the biggest energy consumers in most office settings, and there is much debate over which is better: shutting

shut down vs sleep mode

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down completely, or going into sleep mode. Many organizations are fearful about changing computer settings, and others may even not have access to their systems because they use an outside IT consulting firm.The first thing CLASS 5 always recommends before changing any type of setting is to contact your IT person – they can usually help with the process, and answer any questions along the way. We have worked with hundreds of IT teams, and while each system has its own unique attributes, a few things hold true no matter what your network looks like:

Screen savers are not energy savers. If you are still using a screen saver, change it immediately. Screen savers were invented as a way to preserve the integrity of monitors. Older computer models would leave imaged “burned” into the screens if left up for too long. With the advent of LCD screens, this all changed. Now, screen savers actually hurt your my using more energy than is needed, wasting money while your machine stays

• There is a small surge anytime a computer starts up after being powered down, however the amount of energy used by the surge is significantly less than the amount of energy expended by being left on for any length of time

Set your sleep mode for 20 minutes. If you are going to be away from your computer for between 20 minutes – 2 hours, turn off your monitor and let it go into sleep mode

If you are going to be away from your computer for 2 hours or more, power it completely down. Turning off your computer at this point will save more energy than allowing it to sit in sleep mode.

Monitors the majority of energy expended by a desktop machine. Anytime you will be away from your computer for more than 10 minutes, turn off the monitor. Monitor buttons work like light switches, simply turning the screen on and off. Turning off your monitor will not jeopardize the integrity of your hard drive, or whatever it is you are working on, in any way.

Turning off your computer is not bad for it! Modern machines are built to stand 40,000 on/off cycles. This means you could turn your computer on and off 3 times per day for 36 years and still not wear it out.

• Each machine is different, however the average computer consumes about 10 watts in sleep mode, compared to zero when shut down completely and 150-200 when up and running. Laptops consume on average 45 watts while up and running.

Saving money by using shut-down and sleep-mode techniques vary based on your organizations hours of operation and number of computers. For the best representation, do a little simple math!

Here is one example, using an online calculator found here:

A company that has 500 computers, operating hours of 9am – 5pm and pays 10¢/kwh can save $83 per year, per computer by moving from “on” to “sleep mode” during the 16 off hours of 5pm – 9am.

That’s over $40,000 per year! Going from “sleep mode” to fully shut down will save an additional $6 per computer, or $3,000 per year. Think of what that could do for your bottom line!

The choice between sleep mode and shut down varies from organization to organization, so be sure to do what is right for your business by taking some time to understand the type of machines you are using, the amount of energy they consume, and the rates you pay for electricity


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