Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How much energy is your music gear using?

Inspired by this post and an enthusiasm for gadgets, I just got an Efergy electricity meter. Among other things, I can find out how much my energy my 'studio' uses.

The mains powered bits of my 'studio' consist of: 1 tower PC, 2 LCD screens, 2 external drives, Pod XT, Nord G2, MPC1000, DSI Evolver, MFB Synth II, Emu Audiodock, Dynacord VRS23 delay, Roland TR-909 (thanks, Peter), an old hifi amp and a Anglepoise lamp with a low energy bulb (ha!).

The verdict: With everything on standby, it's drawing 0.035kwh. With everything on, it's drawing .660kwh. With the gear on, but the PC (and screens) on standby it's drawing .192kwh. No wonder it gets warm in there in summer.

The average cost of residential electricity in the US was 9.86¢/kWh in 2006 - let's call it 10¢ for ease of calculation (I couldn't find a sensible average rate for the UK, but this suggests 10p/kwh isn't unreasonable). That means: Keeping everything on standby for a year = $30. Keeping everything on for a year = $578. Keeping everything on for 3 hours, five days a week = $51 (+ standby).

My observations:

1) I thought all those horrible external PSUs would mean standby costing a fortune. It doesn't, really.

2) That computer does suck a lot of power. One more reason to love hardware over software.

3) If I was really worried about standby, an Intelliplug would pay for itself in six months.
4) I wonder how much big old analog synths or valve amps draw?

5) The Fit-PC is pretty sexy (draws 5w of power, no fan, smaller than a paperback, costs £150) but I'm not sure it will play nicely with Ableton...

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