This blog has been updated with the correct default kilowatt-per-hour rate.
Sometimes it's the little things that count, especially when it comes to your carbon footprint.
When it comes to PC usage, those little things include turning off your computer when you're not using it. Enter Verdiem, with its free download called Edison, which it is offering to consumers to help with their PC power management at home.
Verdiem has a similar product for large enterprise customers--and they of course charge for it. But Edison is free, and available at the company Web site, or from Microsoft.com/environment. Microsoft and The Climate Savers Initiative are both supporting the launch of Edison.
There are more than 1 billion PCs in the world, and each is responsible for an average of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions every year, says Allison Cornia, Verdiem's vice president of marketing, adding, "Most people are really unaware how much energy PCs are wasting, and we want to draw a lot of attention to that."
I tried it out, and it seems easy enough. Download and register the program, and a window pops up. A series of tabs helps you customize your settings. Choose your peak work and non-work hours, and when you want Edison to save more or less power.
Using the "save more" setting while you're working will power down your display and hard drive after 5 minutes, and suspend your PC after 10. "Save less" means your display will be powered down after 30, your hard drive after 45, and never suspends your computer. There are several settings between those extremes as well.
But the part where you actually feel like you're making a difference is under the "Estimated Annual Savings" section. Once you plug in what your local power company charges for kilowatts per hour, Edison calculates money and energy saved per year, as well as how much carbon dioxide is not being emitted. After having Edison installed for roughly 4 hours, at the default $0.089 kW/hr, I'd be on track to save $30.85 this year in energy costs, 346.68 kW/hr, and 472.52 pounds of CO2.
It's Windows-only for now, but Verdiem says it will add an OS X-compatible version depending on whether Mac users show interest.