UCSF Sustainability Stories

By Gabe Lieb (from Sept. 2011 Green Campus Newsletter)

Don’t Forget That Your Monitor Needs Its Sleep Too

There are many simple steps you can take that make a direct impact on energy use at UCSF. One of the simplest steps is turning off your monitor when your computer is not in use; the problem is that you have to remember to do it.

Sticker2How does turning off your monitor make such a difference? Let’s do a simple calculation to show how. Monitors, from flat screens to CRTs (Cathode Ray Tubes), consume anywhere from 17w to 75w (watts) of electricity. If you make the assumption that a monitor can at least be turned off outside of the eight-hour workday (128 hrs/week) and combine that with UCSF’s electricity rates that start at $0.11 kwh, then conservatively, you could save between $0.24 and $1.06 a week or potentially around $50 a year. This translates to a CO2 savings of 261 lbs a year or the equivalent of 13 gallons of gas.*

Even more impressive, this calculation doesn’t consider that monitors turned off during breaks, meetings, vacation, or other times you might be away from your desk for even greater energy savings or that UCSF’s rates are sometimes as almost 50% higher.

So the numbers are incredible convincing, but still somehow it’s still difficult to remember to take the simple action and turn of your monitor when appropriate. There are a few things you can do to help. The key is to use triggers or to automate the process. You can write a reminder on a Post-it, pick-up one of the LivingGreen monitor reminder stickers (at Green Campus tabling events, through the Office Certication program, and upon request), or have IT help you set your computer power settings. The effort really can be that simple and it can make a big difference toward helping UCSF make one of its main sustainability goals.

*  This calculation was done using PG&E’s green house gas calculator (GHG) and assumes all of UCSF’s electricity comes from the utility. In reality, the University’s electricity comes from a variety of sources that is more difficult to calculate and is used for illustrative purposes only.