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The power of PCs as energy wasters, and what law departments can do

Count the number of PCs in your law department. You will probably find more PCs than people, and each PC or laptop wastes significant amounts of electricity. According to the Wall St. J., June 13, 2007 at B6, “PCs waste about half the power they consume,” since, for example, most PC power supplies operate at about 65 percent efficiency. Inefficient voltage regulators installed on the main circuit board are among the culprits.

One conservation step every law department can take is to install on its PCs power-management software, which puts them into an energy-saving mode after a period of inactivity. We are all familiar with Blackberries and cell phones that go dark within seconds of non-use to preserve their batteries.

The software costs about $20 on a PC and if used the annual electricity bill for running an average PC could drop to less than $10 from about $40 (See my post of April 27, 2007 for more on energy conservation.). An even simpler step to take is to urge everyone to shut down their PCs when they leave at night.