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The cost of idle computers.

While most computers don't draw much power, these electronic marvels collectively account for an estimated 5 percent of commercial U.S. electricity consumption and represent the fastest growing sector of commercial electrical demand. Moreover, "the vast majority of time the nation's 30 million to 35 million personal computers are turned on, they are not actively in use - and 30 to 40 percent are left running at night and on weekends," notes Brian J. Johnson in Washington, D.C. Johnson manages a new Environmental Protection Agency program aimed at promoting more efficient computing.

To date, 28 manufacturers of computers and monitors, seven makers of printers, and 16 companies producing software and hardware components have voluntarily signed onto this program. Its goal: new systems that reduce the power drawn by an idling computer or monitor to 30 watts or less - typically up to half its normal consumption. Together with other strategies for increasing computational efficiency this program aims by the year 2000 to cut computer energy consumption by nearly 40 percent. That in itself would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, by 20 million tons - or the equivalent of 5 million automobiles, says Johnson.
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Title Annotation:electricity consumption
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 20, 1993
Words:195
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