The House of Representatives recently passed a bill requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to research energy-efficient servers for use in data centers worldwide. There are very practical reasons for doing such a thing, not the least of which is increasing the overall efficiency of servers themselves and possibly decreasing the overhead needed to create a dedicated data center. Since most servers tend to run constantly, it’s fairly hard to tweak their power performance – however, this is reasonably easy with most home machines (which H.R. 5646 doesn’t reference). Easy, simple ways of doing so include:
- Turn off your computer and associated machinery when not in use. This is particularly doable in home environments, though offices may find this a little troublesome depending on maintenance schedules. Turning off your modem and other accessories when not in use or when leaving home for a long period of time can help decrease your energy bill.
- Adjust your power settings. Most operating systems allow the user to allow the display or hard drive to shut off after a certain length of time. This is useful whether using a desktop or a laptop.
- Don’t buy a computer that doesn’t fit your needs. Some specialty systems (such as those for gaming) are created with faster components, which can frequently require more energy to run. Choose a machine that’s right for the tasks you intend to use it for. You typically can use a slower computer for just word processing than you can for graphics design, for instance.