Choosing to leave a computer and monitor on continuously, instead of shutting down, can consume $147 worth of electricity a year1.

In support of energy conservation, the Sustainability Office, in consultation with IT, Media and Classroom Services, offers these recommended sustainable computing protocols:

  • Adjust the brightness levels on monitors and turn them off whenever not in use, even for short amounts of time (i.e. coffee breaks). Utilizing screen savers instead of turning monitors off does not save energy – in fact, it requires power to produce the imagery (the more elaborate the image, the more energy required to display it).
  • Set your computer to sleep mode after 10 minutes of inactivity, or hibernate mode if away from the computer for longer periods of time. When your computer and monitor are operating at full capability they can draw over 250 watts of power, compared to 15 watts drawn in sleep mode2.
  • Check the power management settings on your computer and choose “power saver” mode. Note that changing certain settings may be restricted by UBC Okanagan’s System Administrator.
  • Shut down computers at the end of each work day. Leaving computers on in order to obtain remote access is generally not required. Contact IT, Media and Classroom Services, to find out more about remote login.
  • Turning the computer on and off multiple times per day does not consume more energy than leaving it on – the cost of leaving the computer on is greater than turning it on and off.

Power Down

On campus, a costly source of inefficient power consumption stems from computers and office and lab equipment that are not powered down or turned off when not in use for extended periods of time. A survey deployed in early 2014 targeting staff and faculty indicated slightly less than 40 per cent of respondents did not turn off their office computers before leaving work at the end of the day. Eighty-nine per cent of those surveyed indicated using screen savers either “always” or “frequently”, which may suggest that respondents are not aware that screen savers don’t save energy. Reducing energy consumed by computers can be addressed without significantly affecting usability or performance. Recommendations support turning off monitors and computers during periods of idleness and after work hours may represent the best opportunity for improved practice of energy-efficient behavior and energy savings. Considering multiple campus computers, devices, and auxiliary office equipment that are not shut down during prolonged periods of inactivity, avoidable electrical consumption is significant.

The Sustainability Office advocates all campus constituents do their part to conserve energy and minimize the campus’ environmental footprint by practicing energy-efficient behaviors and applying sustainable computer protocols.

[1] http://www.fortisbc.com/Electricity/PowerSense/BrightIdeas/Pages/Bright-ideas-for-the-home.aspx