Standby PCs Waste Energy During Holidays

Leaving a PC and monitor on standby for ten days during the Christmas holidays could cost businesses millions, according to estimates by a British home energy management service.

A study by Alert Me estimates losses of £41.31m (US$63 million) in wasted energy during the holidays.

Artwork: Chip Taylor

The home energy measurement service monitored an office of 50 staff in the UK over a two-week period to identify how much energy is wasted when staff are home over the Christmas holidays. AlertMe revealed that leaving just one pc and monitor on standby also generated 4kg of carbon emissions over the ten-day festive break. That's 200 more times the amount emitted by 100 fairy lights when left on standby for the same period of time.

Furthermore, if every one of the UK's small businesses left just one machine and screen on standby for the Christmas holiday, 8,973 tons of carbon dioxide would be generated, raising to 695,000 tons if ten PCs and monitors were left on standby alongside standard office equipment such as printers, scanners, fax machines and photocopiers.

The impact could be even greater if ten people out of an office of 50 leave their PC and monitors on standby, together with standard office equipment such as printers, scanners, fax machines and photocopiers, over the same period, they are predicted to emit 331kg of carbon dioxide per office, which is across the whole of the UK.

"Consumers are starting to take steps to control the way they consume energy in the home and we urge them to do the same in the workplace," said AlertMe. "People shouldn't be feeling guilty about spreading the Christmas cheer at home, lighting up their Christmas tree and their home. Fairy lights today are cheap to run but it's all too easy to leave your workstation on standby without even thinking and this will have even more impact if you are away from the office for the full ten days over the holiday."

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