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PCs and aircons

Many people don’t realize that the average desktop PC wastes nearly half the power it draws from the wall socket. This excess energy is dissipated as heat. The average server wastes 30 to 40 percent of its power.

From an address by Dr. Dileep Bhandarkar, Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft at 2008 CeBIT

The advent of PCs in offices also partially explains the explosion in installations of air-conditioning units in university buildings over the last decades. Inefficient PCs are heaters and in sunny South Africa that is a problem for almost three-quarters of the year. Until now, the humble PC’s energy consumption and efficiency has not made it onto the list of purchasing criteria. Consequently there is a twofold wastage of electricity: wasted energy from the PC heats up the office, and energy is then wasted to cool the office down again. The situation is exacerbated by heat from lighting, when natural light is kept out by drawn blinds and curtains.

Insist on Energy Star and EPEAT compliance when purchasing your next PC. Rather buy a laptop as it uses a third of the power and incorporates “uninterrupted power”, an important criterion in electricity-challenged SA.

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