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This work presents a new approach for energy management by inserting data buffers. The buffers are managed using the concept of inventory control by treating energy as cost and computation as production. The data stored in the buffers are considered as merchandise. Our method provides a mathematical framework to develop general strategies managing the energy consumption in computers. The approach can solve a wide range of problems. For example, it can calculate the needed buffer sizes to achieve optimal energy savings. It can derive the conditions when a standby state saves energy. The method also shows the effect of load balancing on energy conservation and can handle the variations of data rates. We use sensor networks as case studies and demonstrate more than 20% energy savings.