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Ten Ways to Reduce Your Computer's Energy Need

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Ten Ways to Reduce Your Computer's Energy Need

Who says it's hard to save money, even in a down economy? There's a quick way to cut your expenses, and it's literally at your fingertips. Your computer—desktop or notebook, at work or from home—can burn major wattage each month, especially if you're not careful about its energy use settings. A few minor adjustments to how your machine operates can cut your annual electricity bill by $25, $50, maybe even $100 or more, depending on your computer's exact model, its degree of use and your local energy rates.

Sure, $50 is less than a tank of gas these days. But still—would you throw away a $50 bill? And that savings goes up if you have more than one computer regularly in use. Imagine how much Intel as a whole could save if every employee cut power usage by a mere 10 percent.

And then there's the environmental aspect to consider. Saving $60 a year in energy costs through PC power management also cuts computer-produced CO2 emissions by nearly 500,000 pounds, a higher total than lowering your home thermostat by two degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, or replacing a half-dozen standard light bulbs with compact fluorescents (not that we're discouraging you from those energy-saving tactics). Intel's goal is to help reduce global CO2 emissions from the operation of computers by 54 million tons per year, equivalent to the annual output of 11 million cars or 10 to 20 coal-fired power plants—and a collective savings of $5.5 billion in energy costs.

Want to get started? Here are 10 easy ways to cut energy use while using your computer, at work or at home.

Get tips on how to reduce your computer's energy need.