January 05, 2009 by Steven Castle
You’ve heard of Staples’ Easy Button? Well, now there’s an ecobutton, only this one actually works.
The ecobutton is illuminated disc that sits on your desktop next to your keyboard. It connects to your computer via a USB cable. When you take a break from your computer, you just press the ecobutton and your computer and monitor are put into an energy saving ‘ecomode’ that draws only a little power. Pressing any key on your keyboar—or by momentarily pressing the power button on some computers—your computer instantly returns to where you left off.
Of course, you can save nearly as much energy just by using the power saving modes on your computer, so it and the monitor goes into sleep or hibernation when there is no activity for a certain amount of time. But the ecobutton allows the computer and monitor to enter low-power states immediately.
In addition, each time your computer is put into ‘ecomode,’ the ecobutton software records how many carbon units and how much power and money you have saved by using the ecobutton.
When ecobutton is activated, the computer doesn’t actually go into hibernation, but into the lowest power mode available.
So far, only PC versions are available—for Windows 2000, XP, and 32-bit Vista—but a Mac version will be coming soon, says the company’s website.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates
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