Staff & Faculty: If you are visiting this page to set your computer's power-save options (not to pledge),
you can jump directly to the instructions.


hat is the
Sleep is Good Pledge Drive, and why is Smith participating?

The Sleep is Good pledge drive (formerly known as the Million Monitor pledge drive) is our response to the EPA's Million Monitor challenge to colleges and universities across the country.

The EPA is urging everyone to voluntarily reduce their energy consumption by setting their computer monitors to a power-saving "sleep mode".

The Smith pledge drive is sponsored by the Smith College Green Team and supported by ITS.  Our goal is to get as many Smith students as possible between now and November 25, 2008, to pledge to
stop using a screensaver and start putting their computers to sleep. 

But wait...The Smith pledge drive is also a competition. The three houses with the highest percentage of students pledging will each receive a pizza party!

Smith Faculty & Staff: This pledge drive is for students only, but we encourage you to follow the directions below to set your own computer monitor to sleep mode.

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Is it true that screen savers actually waste energy?

YES!  A CRT (cathode ray tube, TV-style) monitor uses 73 watts when active (even with a blank screen saver) and a typical LCD (liquid crystal display) screen uses 40 watts when active.  Both types use only 0-3 watts when asleep.

Setting your monitor to go into sleep mode when you're not using it could save from 100 to 600 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year depending on your computer usage habits. This equals a monetary saving of $8.50 to $51.00 per year per computer (at 8.5 cents per kWh).

But money isn't all you're saving.  Even more important, the more computers set to sleep mode, the greater the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the power plants that generate our electricity.  And it doesn't take much to make a real impact:

Just 19 computers
set to sleep mode
is equivalent to planting one acre of trees.

Just 30 computers set to sleep mode
is equivalent to taking one car
(and all its emissions) off the road.

If 75% of the Smith student population takes the Sleep Is Good pledge, the equivalent of 28,571 gallons of gas can be saved over a three-year period.  At three dollars a gallon, that's a total savings of $86,000 and a decrease of 500,000 pounds of CO2 emissions.

For more information about calculating your carbon footprint and CO2 emissions, visit these websites:

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Sounds really good, but what's the catch?

There isn't any. Putting your monitor to sleep will not close applications you have running, not interfere with your network settings, and not log you out of your computer. It will simply turn off your monitor when it's not in use. It's a great way to help the environment without reducing your computer's performance.

To wake your monitor up, all you have to do is move your mouse or hit any key on your keyboard. No pain, lots of gain!

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I want to help. How do I adjust the power management settings on my computer?

The instructions below explain how to set your monitor and computer to automatically go into sleep mode after a period of inactivity you specify. To wake your system up, just move the mouse or press a key on your keyboard.

Click on the link for your operating system:

Windows Vista
Windows XP & 2000
Macintosh OS 10.x

Windows Vista:

  1. Click on Start, then Run, then Control Panel.

  2. Control Panel has two views:

    - In Theme View, double-click on System and Maintenance, then on Power Options.
    - In Classic View, double-click on Power Options.

  3. In Power Options, choose a pre-configured plan, customize one of the pre-configured plans, or create a new plan.

  4. The initial screen for editing a plan allows you to change the monitor and sleep timeout settings. We recommend setting your monitor to enter sleep mode after 5 to 15 minutes of inactivity. The shorter the timeframe, the more energy you save.

Windows XP & 2000
  1. Go to the EZ Wizard download page and click on the link to begin the download.

  2. When asked to Run or Save the file, choose Save and save the file to your desktop.

  3. When the download is complete, double-click on the new PMWiz-XP.exe icon on your desktop.

  4. In the Power Management Wizard window, read the descriptions of the Aggressive, Intermediate, and Modest power management strategies.

  5. Click on the one that suits you best, then Exit.

  6. Restart your computer to activate your new power management settings.

Macintosh OS 10.x

  1. Go to the dock and click on System Preferences.

  2. In the System Preferences window, click on the Energy Saver icon, then on the Sleep tab.

  3. Put a check in the box next to "Separate timing for display sleep", then move the slider to 10 minutes.

  4. Set your hard drive to stop after 20 minutes, and your computer to enter "sleep mode" after one hour.

  5. Close the Energy Saver window. That's all there is to it!

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What else can I do to decrease my computer's impact on the environment?

  • Turn your computer completely off whenever you go to class, go to dinner, go to sleep, or do anything else for an hour or more that doesn't involve your computer.  An average PC will waste 130 watts (the energy required to ride a bike at 17 mph) if it's not turned off overnight.

  • If you are buying a new computer, consider a laptop. A typical laptop uses only one-quarter the energy of a desktop system.

  • If you are buying a new monitor, consider an LCD, also called a flat screen or flat panel display. LCDs use only one-third the energy of a CRT. They also generate less heat that CRTs, meaning lower air-conditioning bills in the summer.

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Where can I get more information about sustainability and clean energy?

Visit the following websites for more information about:

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Did you remember to SIGN THE PLEDGE?


Last updated June 3, 2010