How do I save power on my PC with Edison

Edison provides a simple means of controlling and monitoring the energy used by your personal computer. Jack Wallen explains how to use it.

Going green is all the rage and businesses cannot escape the fact that people want to see them making efforts to save energy. And although most people don't realize it, having hundreds (if not thousands) of PCs sitting idly by can really drain the juice. But there are ways to curtail that energy draw, including an application created by Verdiem called Edison. Edison provides a simple means of controlling and monitoring the energy used by your personal computer.

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Edison features:

  • Energy savings scheduling
  • Simple energy savings settings
  • See your calculated energy savings
  • Available for both Windows XP and Vista

System requirements:

  • Windows XP (Service Pack 2) or Vista
  • 256MB of RAM
  • IE 5.01 or better
  • 7MB free disk space
  • .NET 2.0

Getting and installing

Navigate to the Edison page and download the version suited to your operating system. When that file has downloaded double click the icon to begin the installation. The installation will offer no surprises that would trip up any Windows user. It's not until you finish the installation that you might see something unusual.

When you do finish up the installation and start Edison a window will open requiring you to register your new software. The registration process is simple. Click on the "click here" link in the window (Figure A) which will direct you to the sign up page. When you have filled out your registration an activation email will be sent to you with a link to click to finish the process. Once you have finished go back to the Edison window and click the "I'm Activated" button.

Once you have clicked the "I'm Activated" button the Edison application will open ready to use.

Figure A

Registration and activation is free

Using Edison

From the Edison main window (Figure B) you can control numerous power saving configurations. From this main window you can configure the power used on your machine while you are working, while you are not working, or scheduled times. As you switch "tabs" within Edison you will notice that both the Work Times and Non-Work Times configuration options are the same, they only apply to different periods of use (or non-use). This is a nice feature because it allows you to set your monitor shut off times differently for when you are working vs. when you are not working.

Figure B

No more hunting around for power saving configurations thanks to Edison.
By default all you need to do is click on the tab you want to configure and slide the slider either to the right (to save more energy) or to the left (to use more energy). You can also click on the Custom button to enter custom numbers yourself. (Figure C)

Figure C

The custom feature comes in handy if you want to tweak the power savings further or if you have specific needs the slider doesn't take care of.

Edison really is just a means to control when your monitor and your hard drive turn off and when your machine suspends. Why this tool is handy is because it allows you to define different times for these actions for when you are using your machine and when you are not using your machine. And Edison doesn't just give one block of time during the week for work and then another block of time for non-work. What Edison allows you to do is schedule a start time and an end time and then to select which days of the week to apply these times. This helps when your work week is non-standard.


The Work or Non-Work time is in a small section at the bottom of the window dedicated to a real time cost savings display. As you slide the slider you will immediately see the savings change (depending upon how you move the slider). For example, if I click on the Work Time tab, and slide the slider all the way to the left (Save Less) the total annual savings are:

  • Money: $26.29
  • Energy: 254.53 kWh
  • CO2: 346.92 Pounds

If I slide the slider all the way to the right the total annual savings are:

  • Money: $37.43
  • Energy: 362.38 kWh
  • CO2: 493.02

The total cost savings isn't huge, but when you multiply that savings by the number of machines in your company the cost ads up.

Final thoughts

Although Edison is a rather single-minded application, it does make a difference in how much energy your machine uses. Of course you can get the same amount of savings without this application, but the ability see the estimated savings in dollars as well as being able to schedule different power savings for work and non-work time makes this tool well worth the free price tag and simple learning curve.

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