It’s Okay To Turn It Off

Push That Button

One of the most recurring questions I’ve gotten over the years is whether it’s best to leave a pc running all the time or to turn it off when we’re not using it. All solid state electronics perform best and last longest when they are left in the “on” state, so my answer used to be, “Leave it on.”

But computer prices are falling. There’s more awareness of the impact of energy usage on our planet, and more concern over climate changes. With that in mind, here are three reasons why you might consider turning off your pc.

1. Reduce your carbon footprint.

Your carbon footprint is a representation of how much of the earth’s resources it takes to create your lifestyle, measured in tons of carbon waste. It’s been said that in the US the average pc, in the course of a 24 hour day, can have a carbon footprint at least half that of a person in Brazil. If you leave your pc running 24 hours a day for a year you will use about 1752 watt-hours of electricity, producing around 117 tons of carbon.

2. Save Some Bucks.

All that carbon footprint up there in #1 is costing you money. I don’t know what you pay for electricity… 15 cents? So that would be about seven dollars a month to run the pc. Turning it off at night and when you’re not using it would cut that down, probably by half, maybe more. Not a ton of cash monthly, but by the time you replace this pc, it’ll be hundreds–maybe the cost of a new pc. Definitely worth the (non)effort.

3. Security

People are always asking me how to protect their broadband connections from threats on the web’o’net. I always tell them, “Turn it off.” It’s meant as a joke, but as with many jokes, this one’s built from fact. The truth is, there is no way to protect yourself from a determined attack. You can make it extremely difficult, but if they want you they will find a way to get you. Security is always a matter of trying to stay one step ahead, or in a dead heat. To fully protect yourself, turn it off.