Take a Byte Out of Electric Bills by Using Computers and Electronics Efficiently

Home Lighting and Electronics

General Tips

  • Unplug electronic devices when they’re not in use. Some electronics, such as televisions, use up to 10 watts of energy when they’re off and still plugged in.
  • Unplug devices that use standby power, such as DVD players, video games, printers, scanners and set-top cable boxes.
  • Use a smart power strip to plug in video game consoles and other electronics to reduce energy use when the products are not in use. Some video game consoles, when left on continuously, can use the same amount of energy in a year as two new refrigerators.
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR® home electronics. An ENERGY STAR television uses 30% less power than other models.
  • LCD televisions consume less power than plasma or rear-projection models.
  • When watching high-definition DVDs, use a standalone DVD or Blu-Ray player instead of a video game console, which uses five times the power.


  • Shut down your computer if you’re going to be away two hours or more.
  • Plug your computer and peripherals into a smart power strip and shut them off using its on/off switch.
  • Don’t use screen savers. They use more energy. Plus, the newer LCD monitors no longer need them.

If You’re Buying a New Computer

  • Consider a laptop. Laptops use about 90% less energy than a desktop.
  • Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified computers, which must meet efficiency guidelines in three operating modes: active, standby and sleep. They also have energy-efficient power supplies.
  • Purchase combination peripheral equipment, such as a combined printer/scanner, which uses one plug instead of two.
  • Buy a flat-screen monitor. It uses less energy and is easier on the eyes.

If You’re Keeping Your Computer

  • Increase the RAM. RAM is inexpensive and relatively easy to install.
  • Replace the hard drive. Newer hard drives allow for faster data access – a requirement for newer operating systems.
  • Replace the video card. A new card increases the performance of graphic operations.

Get started by understanding how your home uses energy. Explore PSO’s Energy Insights tool to track your usage, set goals to reduce monthly bills and find rebates to help you save even more.