GreenTech LogoEven if you don't want to set your entire computer to sleep, consider turning off your monitor at night and set it to sleep during inactivity (after two to five minutes) during the day.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory tested dozens of monitors and found that the average LCD (flat screen) display uses over 27 watts while on, but only 1.38 watts while in sleep mode. In contrast, the average older-but-cheaper CRT displays use 65 watts while on and still use over 12 watts when in sleep mode. Even in off mode, both types of monitors still draw approximately 1 watt of energy.

To make your monitor sleep, go to the "Power Options" on a windows PC or if on a Mac go to "System Preferences," click "Show All" and select "Energy Saver" from the "Hardware" row. More details with pictures can be found at Climate Savers Computing.

If you are using a bulky old CRT monitor (not flat screen), another thing you can do is set your background screen color to a dark color. White takes more energy to project. The Energy Star Frequently Asked Questions is a good resource to learn more about basic power management.

Anna Jaeger
Co-Director of TechSoup's GreenTech Initiative