It’s always a great idea to conserve energy where you can. Not just for environmental reasons, but also because the less you use, the cheaper your power bill. With that in mind, Windows has added some new energy-saving features to an upcoming Windows 11 update.
This feature was uncovered in the latest Windows 11 Insider Build by Twitter user Albacore (opens in new tab). The idea seems to be that users can check their system’s “Eco Score” in a new system menu called “Sustainability.” The menu will also let users edit their eco settings, to help them reduce their machine’s energy usage.
A few more improvements coming to Windows 11 🍃• Sustainability: better energy consumption and device recycling awareness• Focus Assist is becoming Focus, now schedulable through Outlook & sporting more granular options• Notification priorities no longer tucked away in UI pic.twitter.com/5V6t51rDP4February 5, 2022
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Other changes in the build include Focus Assist becoming Focus, with more options and the ability to schedule through Outlook, as well as a new home for notification settings.
The new sustainability features are the most interesting by far, though. Windows already has some limited eco-conscious features, and has done since Windows 10. For instance, there's a sliding scale on the taskbar battery icon that lets you prioritize energy efficiency or performance. But from the little we've seen of it so far, the new sustainability menu seems to be a lot more in depth.
The Eco Score system is visible at the top of the screenshot, in the form of a five leaf scale. Presumably these will turn green to indicate how eco-friendly your machine is at any given time.
Meanwhile, the energy-saving features look to be split between default settings, and advanced options. The latter will presumably give you better control of how your machine saves energy, and that seems like a good distinction to make, because you may not always want Windows to decide for you.
For instance, when gaming you may want to pull in the extra juice needed for maximum performance, even if that reduces your Eco Score temporarily; I certainly know a few people who will be pretty upset if they have to resort to 30fps because their PC wants to conserve energy against their will.
The menu also contains a link offering advice on how to recycle your machine, when the time comes to get a new one. This is potentially quite helpful, as tossing your old laptop in the trash like an old pizza box is both wasteful and an environmental hazard.
Unfortunately, the new sustainability features aren't functional just yet, which means it may be a while before they roll out to the stable version of Windows 11. Frankly, I can’t wait: not only could this help me save money on my power bill, but anything that keeps my laptop’s ageing battery powered up for longer is sorely needed.