Will Turning Off My Monitor Save Energy?

Enable Sleep Mode on your computer to save energy and money.
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Slipping your desktop or laptop monitor into Sleep Mode may seem like a small energy-saving step, but over time it could have big consequences. The U.S. Department of Energy encourages using sleep mode and power management features on your computer to save money on your energy bill.

Turn the Monitor Off

Next time you press the power button to turn on your monitor, listen for it: a small pop along with the whirring of fans in your computer. This noise is indicative of the small surge of energy that occurs every time you power on the monitor for your computer. This energy surge may leave you wondering whether it is economically worth it to shut off your monitor. As a general rule of thumb, to save energy you should turn off your monitor if you are going to be away from your computer for 20 minutes or more.

Sleep Mode

Just about every computer comes with a Sleep Mode option. It is an option on your computer that you can use to send it into a monitor-off, low-power mode after a certain period of time when not in use. Telling your computer when to automatically turn off its screen is not just an energy-saving, environmentally friendly idea, it can also save you cash. According to a study preformed by Iolo Labs, you can save around $2 per month from your drop in energy usage when you put your PC to sleep at night.

Power Down Completely

Some people do not like powering down their computers completely because of the amount of time it takes to start up a computer. However, for further energy savings, you should completely power down your computer if you are not going to be using it for two or more hours. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests connecting your computer and its peripheral devices to the same power strip. That way after you power down your computer, you can shut off the power strip to save even more energy.

Meet in the Middle

If reboot time has you wary of shutting your computer off completely, enable power management features built into your computer. These features vary among computer models but dimming your computer screen is an example of a power management feature found in most operating systems. By enabling these energy-saving features in addition to using Sleep Mode, you can bring your yearly energy bill savings up to $50.


About the Author

Rosemary Peters holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and a Master of Science in science communication. She has worked on editorial and design content across several publications, including "The Beacon" and "International Innovation." She has also spent time working in the Science radio unit at the BBC.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images