Power Management User Interface

Reducing Personal Computer Energy Use by 24 percent

The Regents of the University of California, on behalf of the Irvine Campus


Irvine, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

Project is complete. The research examined power management behaviors in a large sample of desktop computers. The recipient developed an open source power user management interface software. More than half of computers with sleep enabled experienced at least one problem with sleep transitions being blocked, and 27 percent exhibited substantially higher idle time and lower sleep time than expected. These sleep blockers reduced the effects of enabling sleep settings. However, treatment subjects still saved an average of 23.7 percent more energy than control subjects with no sleep enabled controls. CalPlug has been demonstrating

The Issue

Personal computers typically do not employ existing power management capabilities and are left on idle mode. This practice results in an increasingly large proportion of energy consumption in homes and businesses.

Project Innovation

This project seeks to reduce energy consumption in personal computers by improving how users employ existing power management capabilities. Although all computers have the capacity to enter low-power modes such as sleep, and can be shut down when not in use, this potential for energy savings has not been realized in the majority of desktop computers. These computers remain on at full power when they are not used. The problem is one of user behavior. The project uses a software solution to change user behavior by changing the tool they are using. This approach is firmly based in behavior theory and human-computer interaction research, which have long demonstrated that the interface of a device can change users' behavior.

Project Benefits

The Recipient developed an open source software call Power Management User Interface (PMUI) that is easy to use and provides feedback to the user on their energy use settings.

Lower Costs


Lower energy use results in reducing operating costs for consumers. The energy savings is estimated to be as high as 24 percent per computer, or about 129 kWh per year or up to approximately $20 per year. Many users feel they are "green" by using this type of software and doing their part for the environment.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Erika Blossom


Contact the Team