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Free Energy-Saving Software For PCs

Although power management software has been around for years, there's clearly room for improvement, particularly with rising energy prices and environmental awareness.

Start-up Verdiem on Wednesday released software called Edison that makes it easy for people to schedule when a PC goes into a low power consumption mode at home or at work.

Verdiem's CEO, Kevin Klustner, is scheduled to highlight Edison and PC energy consumption during a conference call with Microsoft's chief environmental strategist, Robert Benard, and Intel's Lorie Wigle, president of the Climate Savers computing industry consortium.

PCs can consume as much as 10 percent of a home's energy bill and give off as much carbon dioxide as a family car. Even when a PC's screen saver kicks on, the machine can still consume between 100 watts and 250 watts.

The Edison software doesn't completely shut a computer off but rather moves it to a "suspend" state, which uses less energy. Users can also schedule to shut down the screen and hard drive before going into suspend mode.

The tool lets users have work and home settings. It has a read-out of how much electricity you are saving, also translated into reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and dollar savings.

Estimates will vary widely, depending on electricity rates and type of computer, but Verdiem says the average savings is 410 kilowatt hours a year, or $36.50.

Verdiem, which is bankrolled in part by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, was founded by people who were looking better power management software than what's built into Windows.

But developing the free Edison software isn't entirely altruistic. The sign-up process promotes Verdiem's power management software for businesses, called Surveyor, which the company says can pay for itself within a few years.

The license for Edison is for one person. It runs on Windows XP or Windows Vista.

By Martin LaMonica

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