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Granola Power App Helps You Save the Environment and Your Wallet

Granola Graph
If you want to shave a few bucks off your electric bill and save a couple trees, the most common methods involve buying all new appliances and just turning everything off all the time. But you can actually trim your bills and reduce your carbon footprint with a simple piece of software called Granola. This little applet sits in the system tray of your Linux or Windows PC, monitors how much energy your processor is using and scales back on the Mhz when not needed.

There really isn't much to Granola; you download it, install it and run it. If you really deem it necessary, you change the default power settings (although we've found the standard settings strike the perfect balance between energy savings and performance). Choose between three different energy-saving profiles, essentially translating to low, middle and high power. The preferences menu has just a few other options, letting you customize how Granola reports your power savings. You can choose your currency (only American dollars, British pounds and Euros for now), set the cost per kWh in your area, choose between pounds and kilograms for CO2 measurements, and choose between cumulative or annual reporting.


Though Granola spends most of its time quietly working its magic from your system tray, you can pull up its main window at any time to see how much electricity, money and trees you've saved. In addition to raw numbers, it also explains what you've saved in comparative terms, such as "enough to power 12 electric furnaces, a dryer and a space heater for an hour." The app even gives itself a little congratulatory pat on the back by sharing how many trees worth of CO2 users will be offsetting collectively this year. Signing up for an account at Granola's website lets you track up to five PCs simultaneously, and view reports online. Corporate users who want to track more than five computers will have to purchase additional licenses.

Granola doesn't use magic or special trickery to cut back on your electricity usage; it simply uses the features already built into your PC. All processors these days have power saving features that allow them to dynamically scale their speed based on need, or to shut down sections of the chip that aren't in use. Granola simply fine-tunes those settings to err more on the side of power savings than speed. As we said, though, using the default settings, we haven't been able to tell the difference in our performance. But Granola tells us we're using 42.6-percent less CPU energy, and saving 131.2 lbs of CO2, or "enough for two trees, a gallon of gas and 31 miles in a compact car." Sweet.

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