Last week Bob started a topic in the forum asking whether people shutdown their computers at night or just put them in sleep mode. Most of the responses were along the lines of shutting down the computer, but as for myself I put it into hibernation or sleep mode. The reason I do that is I normally have several applications open that I’m using, and I don’t want to close them all down just to restart them the next day. I also put my computer into sleep several times throughout the day whenever I’m not going to use it for more than an hour.
There is an initiative that has started which is more for fun than anything else. It’s called Local Cooling and it’s goal is to save the planet one computer at a time. It’s a simple little application that you run on your computer, and it tells you how many Watts of power items like your hard drive and monitor are using up. It then helps you optimize your computer by adjusting settings like shutting off your monitor, or turning your computer off after a specified period of time.
The power consumption calculations do not seem to be as technical as they sound. For example, it looks like they just check to see what size monitor you’re using, and use a general power consumption figure for the calculations. Then they keep track of how much power you’re now using, and also how many trees and gallons of gas you’ve saved with the reduced power state.
If you have a LocalCooling.com account it will upload the stats to their site so that they can keep track of the global savings from using their application. As of right now they have 122,569 users that have saved a total of 1,113,510.0 KWh! That’s equal to 534,484.8 gallons of oil and 59,016.03 trees, and they say that "the CO2 emissions from just 15 computers are equivalent in energy terms to the gas consumption used by one car." So you really can make a difference.
Before you go and download this program I should point out that it doesn’t really do anything that you’re computer can’t already do. Most operating systems are already equipped with power-saving techniques like this, but Local Cooling is just trying to make the everyday user aware that these features exist. So while you may not see how this is useful to you, maybe you should also be thinking about other people that this would be helpful for. Now is the time to think about your family and friends who have no interest going into the Control Panel to configure these settings, but you know darn well that they would get a kick out of this app.