Saving Energy with Computers and Home Office Equipment

Computers and home office equipment represent one of the fastest growing categories of home energy use. While allowing the convenience and flexibility of working from home, computers, printers, copiers, and fax machines can use significant amounts of energy, especially if they are left on constantly.

Most of these devices now have power management features that allow them to enter standby or "sleep" mode during periods of inactivity. Consult your owner's manual or equipment documentation for information on these features and how best to use them depending on your specific needs. In addition to the potential energy savings, these power management features can also extend the useful life of your home office equipment. In low power "sleep" mode, the equipment also generates less heat, potentially saving energy on air conditioning as well.

Potential Energy Savings:

Equipment Conventional Products Energy Saving Products Potential Energy Savings
Desktop PC's 500 kWh 250 kWh 50%
Fax Machines 300 kWh 135 kWh 55%
Laser Printers 750 kWh 270 kWh 65%
Copier (Medium) 1200 kWh 535 kWh 55%
Copier (Large) 2800 kWh 1200 kWh 55%

Other Energy Saving Tips


  • Turn computers off when they're not being used. If you have multiple devices (printer, scanner, copier, etc.), connect everything to a "power strip" and turn off everything at once.
  • Don't forget to turn off the computer's monitor when not in use - the monitor can be a significant portion of the overall energy use, especially ones with larger displays and higher resolution.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR logo on computers and monitors - compared with a conventional model, an ENERGY STAR computer with its power management features enabled can save up to 50% or more on energy costs. ENERGY STAR monitors use 20% to 60% less energy, depending on how the power management features are used.
  • Consider a laptop - compared with desktop computers, laptops have much lower energy consumption and more extensive power management features.
  • Many laptops (and some desktops) offer a "hibernate" or "bookmark" mode that saves active programs and files and restores them when powered back up.


  • Turn off printers when they're not in use - even when idle a printer can use a significant amount of energy.
  • Choose the printer that's best suited to your needs. Higher output and resolution may be attractive features, but they also increase energy use.
  • New higher-resolution inkjet printers may be a more economical option than laser printers, saving on both energy costs and supplies like ink and toner.
  • Look for power management features and the ENERGY STAR logo.

Fax Machines

  • Fax machines are often left on constantly to receive incoming messages. Power management can save energy by reverting to low power mode except when a message is being received or sent.
  • Minimize the number of pages by avoiding unnecessary cover sheets.
  • Plain paper fax machines are more economical in the long run, when you consider both energy costs and paper costs. Thermal fax paper is much more expensive (and it can't be recycled).
  • Consider an ENERGY STAR model - on average, they are 25% more efficient than conventional models. Efficient designs allow them to run cooler, so they last longer and generate less waste heat.


  • Always turn the copier off when you're not using it. If you tend to forget, a simple plug-in timer can automatically turn it off after a preset interval.
  • Match the speed and output to your needs - the higher the output in pages per minute, the greater the energy use.
  • Make sure the power management features are enabled (consult the owner's manual or documentation for information on these features and how to set them based on your specific needs).
  • Consider an ENERGY STAR copier. In addition to being an average of 25% more energy-efficient, they can print double-sided copies, saving on paper costs.

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