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The 80 PLUS performance specification requires power supplies in computers and servers to be 80% or greater energy efficient. Although a fairly young standard, 80 Plus has been embraced by the industry heavyweights ‘Energy Star’ and is part of their requirements for Energy Star compliance.

ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy, helping us save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Although an American organisation, Energy Star has huge international influence. To get the coveted Energy Star compliance, products (all sorts, office equipment to fridges) must meet certain criteria such as low power consumption or intelligent power saving features.

Energy Usage Chart

It’s surprising how little people know about the power consumption of the standard kind of electrical devices we use on a day to day basis. It’s therefore no surprise to know that there are very few people who bother to make the small changes necessary to make a huge difference in power consumption. We’ve listed some of these devices below.
Energy usage is measured in Watts, which we then convert into kWh (the amount of KiloWatts used in an hour). A KiloWatt is of course a thousand Watts and is the standard unit of energy I’ll be using on this page. To get a relative perspective of this unit of power, one kWh is the power required to run a single bar on a KiloWatt bar heater for an hour, or to power a 100W lightbulb for ten hours.
So, a single KiloWatt has the capability to do all sorts of things, but what’s the cost?
Suppliers vary, but the average price is just under 8p once all charges and fees have been taken into consideration. That doesn’t sound much yet, but wait until you see how it all adds up!
Of course the cost of the electricity is important to us, but what’s important to the environment is the level of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) emissions caused from the creation of that electricity. A single KiloWatt is responsible for staggering 0.43Kg of CO2 emissions when purchased from the UK national power grid (source: The Carbon Trust).
The table below demonstrates the real cost of some of the common day devices around us in modern environments.

  Watts Hours/Day Days/week kWh/week kWh/Month kWh/year KgCO2/year Cost/year
Computing devices
Intel NUC 6 9 7 0.4 1.6 19.7 10 £2.00
Genie Micro 15 9 7 0.9 4.1 49.3 26 £6.00
Entry level PC 22 9 7 1.4 5.9 72.3 38 £9.00
Omnino 5 All-in-One 39 9 7 2.5 44.5 128.1 68 £15.00
Mid to high end PC 35 9 7 2.2 66.2 115 61 £14.00
High end workstation 45 9 7 2.8 9.4 147.8 78 £18.00
Entry level Legacy PC 65 9 7 4.1 4.7 213.5 113 £26.00
Legacy 17" LCD 42 9 7 2.6 0.7 138 73 £17.00
Legacy 17" CRT 120 9 7 7.6 4.1 394.2 208 £47.00
17” LED backlight 12 9 7 0.8 4.7 39.4 21 £5.00
22” LED backlight 16 9 7 1.0 1.6 52.6 28 £6.00
Legacy Laptop 45 9 7 2.8 493.9 147.8 78 £18.00
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-106 8 9 7 0.5 771.8 26.3 14 £3.00