Home much is your PC costing you?

Ever wondered how much it costs to run your computer? That depends on how energy efficient your computer is, and how much electricity costs in your city. I can at least tell you how much it cost me to run my Dell Dimension 4600 in Victoria, BC, Canada.

To start with, I had to get something that would allow me to measure the amount of electricity that my PC was using. The best gadget I found for the job (maybe I should say the least expensive gadget I found) was the kill-a-watt. It is a great little tool that you plug into an electrical outlet, then plug in the appliance that you want to measure, and within a couple of minutes, you’re done… you know how much electricity the appliance, or in our case computer, uses.

So how much does it cost to run our home computer all day and all night? The total cost is $60 per year. Electricity in Victoria, BC costs $0.0633 Canadian per Kilowatt Hour (kWh). In California the average cost is about $0.12 US per kWh. So to run my computer in California would cost $114 per year, or $9.50 per month. If we only ran the computer during the day for 12 hours a day, we could cut the cost of running it in half to $57 per year (in California).

This made me think about where I work, and how much we could save if we turned off our computers at night. In my building at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law, we have about 120 computers in the building. Most run 24×7 so that they can get windows updates at night. The total cost of running those computers per year is about $7,200. That’s a lot of money!

If we were able to only run the computers during business hours (say 10 hours a day) we save $4,200 per year! Something I’ll look into. I just need to get the computer updates happening during the day… I wonder if my boss will split the savings with me?

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Sustainability, Work
2 comments on “Home much is your PC costing you?
  1. Paul L. says:


    I’m in Victoria too and looking to pick up a Kill-a-Watt. Could you provide me with the name of the store where you bought it?



  2. rmccue says:

    We purchased ours from Sustainablitysystems.com for $21 with $6.50 in shipping. Looks like their website is down now though.


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