Most households own at least one computer and many own multiple computers and an assortment of peripheral devices. Computers account for up to 5% of home electricity use.
Your computer and monitor are likely to account for the majority of the energy used by your computer equipment, with monitors representing around 25% of the energy of a computer. If you use multiple, larger monitors, this has the potential to increase your household electricity consumption.
Printers, scanners, multi-function devices (MFD), scanners, speakers and modems, routers, fax machines, answering machines and cordless phones also use energy. The combined energy use of these devices can be significant if they are left running continuously.
The energy rating label helps you compare the energy efficiency and running costs of different devices such as computer monitors. The star rating is shown in the red band at the top of the label and can range from 1 to 6 stars. The more stars, the more energy efficient the computer monitor will be, and the lower the running costs. Super-efficient models could have up to 10 stars, with the extra stars shown in a crown at the top of the label.
An energy rating scheme has not yet been introduced for laptops and tablets as these are available in a wide range of configurations which makes comparing their energy efficiency difficult.
Compare the energy efficiency of different computer monitors, using the star rating system, then use the numbers in the energy consumption box to find out the model's annual energy consumption. Note that this figure is based on the use of the monitor for 10 hours per day, which is relevant for home office and business use. Most households will probably only use the monitor for around one to two hours per day. When purchasing a new computer monitor, use the Energy Rating Calculator to choose a model with as high a star rating as possible.
When you buy a new computer monitor, pick a model with at least a 4 star rating to improve your household's energy efficiency.
Standby power can comprise as much as 10% of your electricity bill. This is because many people use the standby mode on their devices, which means they're still using energy, even when they're not actively operating.
Regardless of the type of computer monitor you have, an energy saving power-board (SPC) can reduce the amount of energy wasted when appliances (like computers and their peripherals) are left on when you're not using them. SPCs switch off these devices when the computer is switched off or when it goes into sleep mode, saving you energy and money.
The table below shows annual running costs for different sized and star-rated computer monitors.
How we calculated the costs
Calculations assume an electricity tariff of 31.9c/kWh, based on a typical Melbourne tariff. This does not include any pay-on-time discount, which would reduce the amount paid.
Energy greenhouse gas coefficient used is 1.18 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per kilowatt hour.
Ensure that when you buy a new product to replace an old one, you take the necessary steps to dispose of your old product responsibly. Recycling computer equipment will reduce landfill, conserve resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.