Save energy - turn off electronics

A popular question I get from students in both classes and workshops is whether to turn-off the computer or leave it on at the end of the day. There was a time when I would ask a few questions and then provide an answer but now the answer is simple - turn it off.

Turning it off is a wise choice for several reasons. First, if you're running a Windows product on the computer in question the simple practice of rebooting, which happens with a shutdown and subsequent restart, helps to clear out all those little "problems" that build as the system is running. Second, shutting a system down saves energy and related energy costs. It doesn't matter if we're talking about home or work, saving energy costs is a very important goal to reach in today's environment. I would also recommend the extra step of turning off the surge protector to stop all power consumption of the computer and related devices like the printer or scanner.

I do not recommend turning off the DSL or cable modem if connecting with that type of high-speed service unless going away for a few days or longer. Those components may be turned off but, if they are, they should be powered back on in accordance with directions provided by the service provider

Why stop at computers though? The US Department of Energy estimates in the average home almost 40 percent of consumed electricity is due to plugged in electronics that are turned off. That's right - plugged in and turned off. A good way to reduce that expense is to plug those items into power strips and turn those strips off when the devices are not in use.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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