Shut down the computer or leave it on?
Years ago, I heard that shutting down your computer and then booting it up again takes up so much energy that it made more sense, from a green standpoint, to leave it running. People also claimed that shutting down and rebooting wears out the power switch, drive motors, and other computer components at a quicker rate.
Is there any truth in this? Not really.
Desktop PCs use a lot of energy. An average Dell desktop uses about 100 watts and the flatscreen displays use an additional 25 watts (source)....ouch!!! The total annual waste of computers is equal to that of 44 million cars (source). That's really disturbing!
Luckily, today's computers offer a variety of power saving options. EnergyStar's website has information on how to adjust the power saving options on both Windows and Macs.
Windows computers offer three options: Hibernate, Sleep, or Shutdown. Hibernate only uses 1.5 watts, and it remembers what you have open so when you start back up, you don't have to reopen everything. Sleep only uses 2 watts, and when you tap a key or move your mouse, it will "wake up." Shutdown just shuts the entire computer down and is the best option for nights and weekends. But, if you're on and off your computer all day, hibernation or sleep are great options. Then shut it down before going to bed for the night.
Macs have some different shutdown options, and here's how to find them.
A few other tips are to make sure you turn off things like speakers, printers, scanners, etc, when you're not using them. And don't use a screen saver in order to save energy! It's NOT an energy saving option because it still requires full power from your computer and monitor.