Curbing my computer’s gluttonous consumption

Every day is ‘Earth Day’ and with each day comes the possibility of living greener. Today I’m taking on my computer’s power consumption. In the past, I allowed my computer to be gluttonous about her power consumption (for the sake of this story my computer is taking on a female persona). I rarely turned off my computer. My computer was always on and ready for action. Why was I leaving something ‘on’ when I wasn’t using it? I don’t leave lights or my tv on. I thought about it and discovered that the source of my wastefulness was… impatience. I don’t like to wait for my computer to wake up each morning. But why?



Every day is ‘Earth Day’ and with each day comes the possibility of living greener. Today, I’m taking on my computer’s power consumption. In the past, I allowed my computer to be gluttonous about her power consumption (for the sake of this post my computer is taking on a female persona). I rarely turned off my computer. My computer was always on and ready for action.

Why was I leaving something on when I wasn’t using it? I don’t leave lights on or my tv on. I thought about it and discovered that the source of my wastefulness was…  impatience. I didn’t like waiting for my computer to wake up each morning. But why? Each morning I patiently wait for my children to rise and shine. So why couldn’t I wait 2 or 3 minutes for my computer to awaken? I decided I was being silly, I CAN wait 2 or 3 minutes. This week I’ve been turning my computer off each night and also while I’m away during the day. While my intention was to use less energy, I’ve enjoyed some additional benefits:

  • My computer is faster. Apparently not restarting my computer for months and months, was not one of my better ideas. My computer is much livelier now.
  • I enjoy starting each day fresh. Gone are the days of 30 open Internet Explorer windows – most with multiple tabs. Now, I bookmark sites that I like and use Evernote to keep track of my ideas. I no longer have documents and windows open for weeks.
  • I’m on the computer fewer times a day. When my computer is off, I’m less likely to check email or surf because it requires me to wait 3 minutes. 

The ‘boot time’ of Windows Vista has been a sore spot for many people. How many people don’t turn off their computers because of startup speeds? I can’t be alone in this. Instead of new widgets and features – how about some speed?

Luckily, Microsoft engineers are working on boot time and there are improvements coming with Windows 7. But will there come a day, when we turn off computers as we leave a room? Just like a lights or our tv? Who knows. In the meantime I’m learning to be patient with my computer, powering her down each night.

What about you? Do you leave anything on when you’re not using it? Please leave a Comment.

Make your computer more energy efficient
Leaving PCs on on overnight costs companies $2.8B a year
I sent my power strips to college

Author: Kate

I'm a writer interested in photography, philosophy, bikes and simplicity.

6 thoughts on “Curbing my computer’s gluttonous consumption”

  1. Interesting post. I’ve been wondering how often during the day to turn off. I used to always turn off, now I tend to leave it on if I’m just going for a walk or to the store, etc. Anything an hour or less.
    Lately I’m experimenting with sleep mode- I just learned today that it uses 95 percent less energy than leaving it on.
    I always shut down overnight.

    Thanks for that evernote site- I’ve got to check it out. Can they help me with my problem of post-its all over my desk and tiny notepads all over my life?

    1. Hi Angela! Diane over at recommends turning off your computer if you’re going to gone longer than 2 hours. Monitor if you’re gone longer than 20 minutes.

      Also – she recommends using a power strip to turn stuff off. Some appliances draw energy when they are turned off, but plugged in.

      I just starting using Evernote and I love it. I used to store my notes and links in long Word document – which made finding things a little difficult. Evernote makes it easy to organize and find things.


  2. I always get (silently) peeved when my husband leaves a light on after leaving a room yet I am totally guilty of leaving my computer on 24/7.

    When I was working all day I hated the thought of coming home and turning on another computer. Now that I’m home all day with my son I am on the computer day and night. The wait time is a turn-off, maybe that’s a good thing. A turn-off that’s a turn-on, hmmm, where else can we go with this?

  3. I used to leave my work computer on over the weekend so monday morning I wouldn’t have to boot up. Shame on me! No longer do I have this bad habit.
    My husband unplugs random appliances like the toaster, my hair dryer, phone chargers, etc. He heard that it helps cut down on the electric bill and energy. We should all do our part!

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