Agencies: Save energy, put your monitor to sleep

Does your monitor not get the rest it needs? Users can save US$10 to US$50 off the cost of running a PC each year by simply activating built-in sleep modes on their monitors, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Most monitors have power management capabilities, also known as sleep mode. During a period of inactivity, the operating system will send a message to the monitor to enter a stand-by mode, run a screen saver, or simply power down.

This pause-in monitor activity saves electricity, and reduces the cost of maintaining a network, according to a group called EnergyStar, run jointly by the DOE and EPA. By simply activating the sleep functions, mail equipment vendor Pitney Bowes was able to save US$160,000 annually, the organization said.

But 45 percent of U.S. monitors are workaholics, and don't take advantage of their built-in ability to take naps during their users' lunch hour, EnergyStar said. These insomniac monitors cost companies and other organizations US$900 million a year in electricity costs, according to the group.

In lieu of fast-acting sedatives, EnergyStar has developed software tools to help IT professionals implement the sleep functions on monitors across their networks. Those tools can be downloaded at is also known in the U.S. for rating power-friendly consumer appliances such as dishwashers or refrigerators.

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