So yesterday's trial proved overwhelmingly that there are no power savings to be had by running your computer all the time to avoid powering up. Quite the contrary, running your computer for only one hour consumes ten times more energy than during the booting process. (Disclaimer: this was done on a desktop tower. I'm not really sure how laptops would measure up-- yet.)
My friend Karen reminded me about the power save features of most operating systems. To be totally honest-- shame on my-- these are features I have seldom used in the past. So to be fair, I decided to try my trial again using the most conservative power save setting available to me. I hooked up my Kill-A-Watt and adjusted the power settings of my Windows computer to both turn off the display and put the CPU to sleep after only five minutes of idle time.
During the next hour, the system consumed 0.05 kWh of power. That is a savings of nearly half the energy consumed without the power save features at all. Still, keep in mind that the computer was doing absolutely nothing for me while continuing to draw this power.
Even with these features enabled, I'm still getting an itchy power-off finger.