Intangible Energy Consumption by Computer Use


After I had red one of news about energy consumption of computers and accompanying monsters on the New York Times, I re-acknowledged how using computers is contributing to the climate change, the biggest global issue, and ocean acidification, a new global issue, through energy consumption. Not only that, but I also think how much we are using this innovative technology in daily life because most people also have an access to this technology and use it nowadays.


In 2017, I’m currently learning sustainability as a graduate student of Patel Collage at University of South Florida. During my learning process, I’m often using a computer for my researches, assignments, online lectures, and contacts with other fellows. Moreover, I’m frequently using this technology for other daily tasks. So now I shift my mind from just using the computer to considering how much I consume energy for the computer. Schlossberg says “computers use more energy than many other consumer electronics” in her article on the New York Times. It directly indicates we consume a lot of energy in our daily life, especially in school or in working field. As more detail of energy usage, the data of NRDC (Natural Resource Defense Council) indicates an annual supply of energy with approximate 65 million metric tons of CO2 emission in the U.S. This CO2 emission clearly becomes an undesirable factor of climate change, ocean acidification, and other issues caused by CO2.


In order to reduce the impact from the energy generation, currently, many nations are addressing operation of renewable energy including solar, hydropower, wind, geothermal, biomass, and so on. These alternative energy generators unquestionably become the global trend, but this action doesn’t mean we can consume energy as much as we desire due to a dramatic increase of energy demand by population growth and development requires more energy use. Moreover, applying renewable energy still consumes natural resources such as water in their generating process. As the high priority of sustainable actions, reduction of energy use is more important than using alternative resources like renewable energy.


As a one action for saving energy from computers in the U.S., California began to regulate energy use for computers through Energy Efficiency Standards for Computer and Monitors. What does this standard mean? According California Energy Commission, the object of this standard is setting a state benchmark of energy use for computers and monitors, and this usage is targeting on not only typical energy use of these technologies but also intangible energy uses during sleep mode or idling mode. Also, the data of this commission demonstrates a upcoming achievement which will reach 2,332 GW/ a year of energy reduction from this standard.


Considering energy use with our familiar electrical tools makes our life complex because we are facing with turning point to treat environment correctly but our life cannot abandon these technology worked by energy. So we need to identify how we have to handle these technology appropriately because each of us can take a step for efficient energy use individually.




California Energy Commission. (2016, December 19). Energy Efficiency Standards for Computers and Monitors: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from  

Delforge, P. (2016, July 28). Slashing Energy Use in Computers and Monitors While Protecting Our Wallets, Health, and Planet. Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC). Retrieved from

Schlossberg, T. (2016, December 15). California to Regulate Energy Use of Desktop Computers and Monitors.  Retrieved from








Minotani, T. (2017). Intangible Energy Consumption by Computer Use . Retrieved from

1 Comment

To add a comment, please Log In.

Scott Sanders wrote: 01-30-2017 19:10:32

here seems to be a lot of focus on recycling old computers, cell phones, tablets, etc. because of the hazards caused when these devices are discarded in landfills. But, like your article points out, it is also important to look at other ways of making these devices more sustainable. It seems as if every home and business has at least one computer, so finding new ways to promote reduction on energy consumption will result in large reductions in resources being used.