7 Ways to Save CO2 and Energy When Playing Computer Games

Girl playing computer games


Behind electricity consumption, of course, there is always the question of climate and environmental pollution. While also in the gaming world climate protection is a theme, it is not yet so compelling that you would rather save the princess from the castle. Although there are some ways like getting a roll surrogate to have someone else play LOL for you (but won’t get you banned) which contributes to lessening the energy consumption from you using your own computer to play.


Among the scientists (and gamers) who want to raise awareness of the impact of gaming on the climate are Evan and Nathaniel Mills of the Berkely Lab. With the support of colleagues, the two scientists have published two studies on the power consumption of gaming PCs and consoles. From their research, they also deduce which energy measures are most effective and how gamers can become more of a hero in the real world.


For many fans, it should be a matter, of course, to tune their setup in such a way that they achieve the best experience with the least amount of energy. If you belong to the I-want-to-just-play faction among the 34 million players in Germany, you can save these tips from the Berkeley Lab.


1. Turn off.

Really turn off the device. Even after the Berkeley studies, this is still the most effective energy-saving measure you can take. It is also clear that in computer games, switching off is sometimes easier said than done. Often you have to reach a certain level to be allowed to save the game at all. Then the device sometimes stays on for hours. But on pause and in sleep mode, the devices still draw a lot of power. On some consoles, there is virtually no difference in power consumption in player and sleep modes.


2. Select components as needed.

Choose a device that suits you. In the Berkeley Lab, the power consumption of the online game Skyrim was examined on 26 different devices. The most energy-intensive device drew twenty times more power than the device with the lowest consumption. Desktop computers usually draw much more power than consoles, whereas laptops consume much less on average.


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3. Choice of the screen.

Choose a screen with a high-efficiency class and one that meets your needs. Some monitors consume more power than the system itself. For example, a console may consume less power than a high-end PC, but you don’t associate it with an LCD screen. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, for example, 4K monitors can increase power consumption by 50%.


4. Turn off shaders.

Shaders provide more realistic graphics experiences, but increase power consumption in games like Minecraft by 36%, according to scientists from Berkeley. Processor overclocking also consumed up to 40% more juice. If you cannot or do not want to send the system to sleep mode, you should at least turn off the monitor when not playing, so the recommendation.


5. Invest better.

Particularly cheap processors or graphics cards can become more expensive in the long run, because they consume more power than energy-efficient components with a higher purchase price. The money you saved when buying is gambled away relatively quickly with long-term use. In the Berkeley studies, efficient devices consumed about 50% less electricity than average goods, with the authors leaving open what is meant by average.


6. Power supplies.

The power supply and gaming system must match. The power supply should pack the load of the gaming PC in the long run, not only at the top. Conversely, there is no need for an oversized power supply for an average system. Efficient power supplies save up to 13% of power, according to the Berkely Lab study.


7. Frame rate.

Software solutions such as Radeon Chill help to reduce the frame rate when it is not needed without restricting the gaming pleasure. This also saves electricity. Also, some games are very energy-intensive. For example, the scientists from Berkeley criticize that some games must be labeled with efficiency labels, as one is used to from technical devices.