How much midnight oil do PCs really burn?

Sometimes, I leave my computer on overnight. Am I evil or simply forgetful?
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Sometimes, I leave my computer on overnight. Am I evil or simply forgetful? How much power am I really wasting? How much can one computer count? Is it more or less energy than I am using to write this blog entry?

Big companies with this problem (but not necessarily me personally) might want to check out 1E, the makers of Nightwatchman software.

As you might expect from the name, the product can be keep an eye on the automated shutdown of computers that have been left on across a network overnight. (Or to turn them off if the IT guys need to handle some patching during down hours.) Ironically, the original code was written to turn ON PCs at a Swiss bank, according to 1E CEO Sumir Karayi.

It didn’t take too much effort to reverse this process, says Karayi. So, eight years later 1E is helping save big companies beaucoup bucks.

How much?

Karayi estimates that the average company can save $40 per PC per annum simply by turning the system off at night. If a company has 10,000 PCs, that’s $400,000. The company publicly estimates that it has helped Verizon save $500,000 per year in energy costs. Here are more stats, if you're number happy.

The company is about to release its Windows Vista-compliant version, Nightwatchman 5. Among other things, the latest product can be installed on a temporary basis and used to assess the amount of energy that might be saved by investing in the software, Karayi says.

Since I don't have a Windows machine, I can't partake, but I CAN play this fun game to remind me to turn the lights out when I got to bed in five minutes. Now, if I can just keep my Mac notebook from turning itself on in the middle of the night.

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