Cities by the Bay still shine, thanks to Energy Star Program

Cities by the Bay still shine, thanks to Energy Star Program

Several government agencies were among the organizations in California's Bay Area that won kudos this week from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department for saving energy by putting PC monitors into low-power modes during periods of inactivity.

Organizations honored included the city of Gilroy, Alameda County, Mills College of Oakland and the East Bay Municipal District of Oakland.

Energy Star, an energy conservation program managed by EPA and Energy, identifies energy-efficient appliances, electronics, office equipment, lighting, heating and cooling equipment and labels them for consumers'sort of a "Good Housekeeping" seal of approval for energy conservation.

Bay Area officials collaborated with officials from the Energy Star program and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. of San Francisco to load 3,000 PCs with Energy Star's EZ Save software. Written using Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0, the software runs under Microsoft Windows 9x and puts computer monitors to sleep when idle.

Most of the energy used by PCs and monitors is wasted, Energy Star officials said. Sixty percent of PCs and monitors are left on at night.

Bay Area officials expect to save more than 600,000 kilowatt-hours over the next year as a result of EZ Save. That's enough energy to light 1,000 California homes for a month, Energy Star officials said.

"Every watt counts," Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown said. "The simple act of powering down your computer screen will conserve energy in the long run."

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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