Should you recycle your old PC or buy a new one?
The world is buried under computers. According to some sources, almost 10 years ago there were more than 1 billion PCs in use worldwide. How many they are now? Who knows? Even if we use the already obsolete number and line up all these computers one after another, they will stretch 400,000 km long – enough to circle around the equator 10 times.
Now I can say with confidence that at least a couple of them are in your home. Some proudly claim they have a pc in every room… and one in the basement. Chances are that some of these computers are old. The common approach has been that if it still works, we will use it – just to check emails, stream music, or for the kids to play games and practice keyboarding. Makes sense, right?
Perhaps, if they were not humming all the time… Here is the problem.
A typical desktop computer complete with fan, mainstream CPU and a graphics card can easily use 150 watts of power even when it is idle. For most home server applications where the machine isn’t allowed to go to sleep you can multiply that by about 9,000 hours in a year. That means the apparently innocent machine stuck in the corner is consuming well over 1,000 Kilowatt hours per year. Depending on the situation that may be over 10% of your total electric use. Depending on your rates that can mean as much as $200 per year in extra electricity costs.
If you need a media server, there are solutions, which are both much smaller in size and much more energy efficient to use. One example is the ASUS Eee Box. It is the size of a hard drive, has no fan and is very light – you can hold it in one hand. The beauty is that is uses 90% less energy.
In case you want to measure the individual energy consumption of any your home appliances, there is a gadget you may want to consider – it’s called “Kill a Watt” and is made by P3 International. Maybe in your home there are other older appliances that are costing you extra money, compare to newer more efficient models available now.
Making your home “greener” is not a one-time decision, we have to keep track of the new technology.