Electricity bill [was: Re: Leaving a Computer Running ?]

Svein Halvor Halvorsen svein-freebsd-questions at theloosingend.net
Tue Feb 8 02:12:22 PST 2005

* Louis LeBlanc [2005-02-07 14:57 -0500]
>  I'm coming into this thread a bit late, but if you go to
>  You'll see a neat little gadget that will tell you exactly what your
>  computers electrical usage is.  

I'm not saying that leaving your computer on 24/7 consumes little power. 
I'm just saying that in Norway (where I live) and in Sweden (where the 
person I replied to seems to live) how much power used by your computers 
is irrelevant.

This is true because:

 1) Our house need to be heated a lot (more than the computer can provide)
 2) Other heatsources are also based on electricity
 3) Other heatsources are thermostatically controlled.

In this setup, you need to warm up your house somehow. Since *all* energy 
in the end turns to thermic energy (elementary physics), the route this 
energy takes from moving electrons to heats is of little interest (when 
you're just looking to heat up your house).

I could open my refrigerator door and it would not show up on my 
electricity bill (of course all my food would be wasted, so it would show 
up on my food budget). Or I could pass electrons through an electric 
resistance which generates heat (which is what most people do[1]), or I 
could turn on alot of light bulbs[2], or listen to music[2] and turn it up 
real loud.

 -- OR --

I could leave my computer on and get some extra use out of those moving 
electrons on their way from electric energy to thermic energy.

Personally, I use a combination of all these. And the extra heating I need 
after turning on all my appliances, my thermostatically controlled 
electric wall heating takes care of.

Of course, all of this is not true if your house does not needs to be 
heated that much most of the year.

Svein Halvor

[1] Note that in Norway all elecrticity is made from hydroelectric power 
plants, and not by burning fossil fuel, which is why alot of people don't 
use electric heating and not wood burning stoves and such.

[2] Of course your house needs to be sound and light insulated as well, to 
ensure that no sounds or light escapes your house, in order for these two 
scenarios to work. Otherwise some of the energy would be transformed to 
heat outside your house, and in which case it would show up on your bill.
It therefore makes sense to use those energy conserving light bulbs also 
in Norway and other cold countries.

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