Saturday, March 03, 2007

one way to save on electricity bills ... upgrade your linux distribution

Summer is upon us and from what I hear, it's going to be a hot one here in the Philippines. Everyone whom I chat with online who is either in the US east coast or somewhere in Europe are shocked when they hear that my room thermometer reads 30 degrees celsius.

I've gotten responses from the typical "are you sure (your thermometer's not broken) ?" to the more extreme "that's insane !!". I shouldn't be surprised. Dirk who lives in Germany, for instance, says that it's 12 degrees celsius and he calls the weather warm.

One thing is for sure, my household electricity bill is going to go up because primarily of air conditioning. It's not uncommon for temperatures here to go up to a toasty 33 to 34 degrees celsius during the day or at least that's what my room thermometer tells me.

Oddly, to many, one solution I thought of is to upgrade my linux operating system.

Don't get me wrong, Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) has served me incredibly well for over a year now. It is stable and has kept my system running almost 24x7 with very minimal problems. I take comfort in knowing that when I wake up everything I left open last night or in the early morning will still be open and the system will still be up and running like I never left my desk.

I knew that if I wanted to save a little on my electricity bill, I needed to turn off my PC when I'm asleep and be able to start it up fast when I need it, like it was never turned off.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get the hibernate or suspend feature to work and "Cool n' Quiet", the AMD technology that throttles cpu frequencies to lower levels when it's idle thereby consuming less power, messes up the clocks on my virtual machines. So it's turned off.

I spent half a day today upgrading to openSuse 10.2. It's probably the fastest and most efficient upgrade I have ever done. It's all thanks to VMware server. I'll save that story for another blog posting. What's important to note right now with openSuse 10.2 is that hibernate works, at least it does flawlessly on my system.

Now, all I need to do at the end of my working day is to hibernate my PC and configure the BIOS to power up my machine at a pre-configured time which is hopefully before I wake up and start work the next day.

I'm going to do it for the first time tonight.

I'll probably find out if it made a dent on my electricity bill after a month. I'm hoping it does.