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The Green Show: The dark side of vampire powerWe look at desktop power consumption in the labs, examine a new monitor that watches you, and uncover a product that could help minimize vampire power.
[ music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Hey everyone, I'm Mark Licea, and this week we head into the lab for a look at desktop power consumption testing. We'll see a new monitor that watches you. And we'll discover the dark side of vampire power. The Green Show starts now. ^M00:00:14 [ music ] ^M00:00:23 >> Mark: You might not think it's a big deal if you keep your computer on when you leave work. It turns out U.S. companies spend 2.8 billion dollars a year keeping those desktops in standby. This according to a study by Power Management Software Company 1E and the nonprofit alliance to save energy. Our Associate Editor Joseph Kaminski gave a quick look at desktop energy consumption. So how much a year does it cost to power your computer? >> Joseph: Maybe your average little GPU system, we're looking at somewhere around $41.15 a year. >> Mark: So how does CNET do their power testing in the labs right now? >> Joseph: Different variations of the energy star standard and some modifications we made on our own end for the load test. What we do is we run a load asleep, an off test and an idol test. We run each test three times as long as the scores are within 5% of one another; we average those out to get our numbers. >> Mark: So what components in the desktop consume the most energy? >> Joseph: The GPU and the CPU. The CPU, because it does all the processing, and the GPU, because it does all the preview rendering. More power can be drawn, the more cards you have in the system. I've seen systems that supported three graphic cards, and they really were some power hungry monsters. >> Mark: Speaking of monsters, Vampire power. It refers to energy being sucked up by electronics that are in standby mode. Your plasma TV can cost as much as $160 bucks a year in active standby mode, and your idle laptop yearly energy cost is about $16.00. Surge protectors can help minimize Vampire power. And David Carnoy [phonetic] has a look at Belkins latest conserve surge protector. >> David: Instead of having your electronics sit there in standby mode and sift a little bit of power, the conserve lets you completely shut down your components so no sifting what so ever occurs. Those bottles have a four-foot cord and two sockets that are designated as always on outlets for those products that you indeed want to keep on or leave in standby mode, like your DVR. All outlets have a sliding safety switch that closes off the socket when not in use, which comes in handy if you have small children. Those conserve models also come with a light switch style remote that allows you to turn off your components with a flip of a conveniently placed switch. The mode is wall mountable and can also control multiple conserve protectors, so you can shut everything down in your house at once. We've calculated the cost savings to the average LCD or Plasma TV for the year and it came in at around $.75 based on having your TV on for five hours a day and in standby mode for 19. Sure the more components you have hooked up the more you'll save. And some items like paper shredders and printers potentially suck more energy in standby mode than home theater components. >> The Japanese company Izo [phonetic] released new power saving LCD monitors that watch you. They have a built in sensor that auto shifts in and out power saving mode when motion is detected. The auto shift feature could work against you if say your cat has a screen staring addiction. ^M00:03:21 [ music ] ^M00:03:32 >> Although you could also just switch it off manually. They come in 20 and 23 inch models; they're only available in Japan now for the equivalent of around $460.00 U.S. dollars. While we're on the subject, check out CNET's new monitor green guide, there you can get tips and advice on buying an energy efficient monitor. Right now we have a handful of products on the page, but expect it to grow in the coming months. There's a product that can supposedly clean using plain tap water. It's called the Active Ion Pro, and it's a spray bottle that applies an electric charge to water through a charged battery. It seems to be a green alternative to most chemical cleaners, and you can reportedly use it to clean anything from glass and stainless steel to carpet. For $299 bucks though we can't say first hand if electrified water is a cost affective cleaning method. But I would totally be the first to have my roommate test it out. And that's it for this week. We want to hear your feedback and green tips, so send them in, greenshow@CNET.com. Plus we're officially cool now; we're on Twitter. Follow us at The Green Show. I'm Mark Licea, thanks for watching. ^M00:04:36