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Goodbye For Now
Authored by: newbish on Oct 08, '07 07:25:20AM

A little food for thought:

My PowerMac G4 with all its peripherals was consuming nearly 400 watts. The old 21-inch CRT monitor consumed another 275 watts on top of that. Even though it was managing a lot of items in my household environment, I programmed it to power off in the evening once it had completed all its duties.

I traded it out with a MacMini — which even under a full load barely reaches 39 watts of consumption. The CRT has long since been replaced with a 23-inch flat panel Cinema Display at 90 watts of consumption active, 3 watts in sleep mode where it spends most of its time.

675 watts vs. 42 watts (screen is off, most of the time). And that was just one component! Sadly, I can't shut off the router because all my sensors are using ethernet connections to communicate to the household server/controller (the Mini).

Swapped out 30 60-watt lightbulbs with 30 15-watt flourescent bulbs, taking my lighting down from 1800 Watts to 450. Then, swapped out ten of those lights with LEDs, resulting in shaving another 120 watts (estimated at this point) off the 450 to bring it to about 330.

Just those items alone resulted in an 65% reduction in my electricity consumption (85% if I don't include household appliances) and a corresponding reduction in my electricity bill. That is a sizable chunk of change each month! By taking over the household management from the G4, the MacMini paid for itself in less than a year, due to the reduction of the electricity bill.

I took my energy savings one step further. Looking at what I used to pay in the electricity bill and what I pay now, I took the difference and invested it in several companies. What I save each month based on what I used to pay, I dump into various stocks and mutual funds (yes, AAPL is one of them). So, not only am I seeing my bills go down, the money I invested has resulted in fairly significant returns. It is one thing to look at the straight dollar value that these things have saved me. It may take up to eight years before everything has paid for itself based on that. But when I look at the money I've made due to my investing the saved money, everything I bought has actually paid for itself and actually made me money.

In the end, it is astonishing just how much I've accomplished just by turning off a little bit of electricity. A Mac can turn itself on and off at specific times. Add remote electrical controls to that, and a Mac can turn itself on and then turn on your router remotely, and then turn everything off in the evening. That can save you yet another couple dollars per week, just doing that little thing. Just a couple dollars per week add up very quickly.

I think Kirk started a really good thread here. It triggered a lot of discussion, and that means that a lot of people are now thinking about what the effects might be of powering down certain items when not needed, or at least reducing power consumption when powering down isn't an option.

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