Computing guzzles a great deal of electricity and striving for greater energy efficiency both saves money and decreases greenhouse gas emissions. Although computers already come with energy-saving mechanisms, such as sleep mode and other power saving features set by users, there's always room for improvement. This is the idea behind Ecobeneficios’s Greencam. The Brazilian company has launched a PC app that automatically turns off the user’s monitor when he or she walks away from it.

Basically what the app does is to turn the computer’s webcam into a presence sensor. When it detects that the user has moved away from the machine, it automatically turns off the screen. This way, if you take too long at the cooler, fret not. Your computer monitor will be taking a break as well.

As the energy demands of the digital age escalate, simple ideas like the GreenCam and more sophisticated power-regulating systems like EnerJ can make a real difference.

If you’re curious about how much power your computer uses, you can download Microsoft’s Joulemeter. This software estimates the power consumption of the computer, tracking the usage of resources such as CPU utilization and screen brightness. For a more accurate reading, hardware solutions like Watt's up? are also available.

GreenCam can be downloaded for free at the Ecobeneficios site. The company's promo video is below.