If the sheer, skyrocketing cost of electricity isn't enough to make you start looking to reduce your power bill, then maybe a reminder that electricity = fossil fuels burned = more carbon emissions = global warming will remind you that there's more than just a large electricity bill at stake here.
Here's some stats from the Treehugger website:
1. Of the $US250 billion spent per year on powering computers worldwide, only about 15% of that power is spent computing-the rest is wasted idling.
2. Electronics make up 70 percent of all hazardous waste.
3. Making the average PC requires 10 times the weight of the product in chemicals and fossil fuels.
4. 15 billion batteries are produced annually worldwide.
5. 40% of the energy used for electronics in your home is used while these devices are turned off.
Geek households tend to have an above average number of computers, electronic appliances and gadgets, so it's fair to say we're using more than the average amount of power per household! Fortunately, Treehugger wrote a really cool guide with geeks in mind. It goes waay beyond the simple 'turn off appliances at the wall' advice (although that could potentially save you around 10% off your power bill) to look at ways to reduce and optimise your use of batteries, and make decisions about extending your PC life or recycling it.
The guide also has a whole bunch of links to other resources, which range from places selling green-friendly PC peripherals, such as the recycled wood iPod case, to websites giving information about PC recycling programs. Worth checking out.
How to Green your Electronics [Treehugger]
And if you're interested in taking it a step further and buying 'green power' for your home, check out the Green Electricity Watch website, which provides a ranking of green electricity products to help consumers choose which ones make the most difference to Australia's and their own greenhouse gas emissions.
For those of you who want the availability of an always-on computer, but don't want to waste power during its idle time, I'd point you back to our recently published hack which lets you save energy with an always available computer.