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Sustainability

Trick, tips, and methods to keep your computer energy costs down.

Welcome to the sustainability page! Here we talk about facts about power consumed by computers and what you can do to reduce power consumption when it comes to your computer.

Just to start this page off, let's cover same myths and misinformation about your computer and the energy it consumes.

5 MYTHS ABOUT COMPUTERS AND POWER

 

Myth #1: Computers don't use a lot of power.

If you take the average amount of power drawn from both laptop and desktop, the power consumed by laptops and desktops is 201,042 kW*h and 50,917.5 kW*h respectively, coming to a grand total of 251,959.5 kW*h a year. This costs the school $30,000 to maintain, along with pumping 178 tons of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere which is equal to what 24.5 houses produce a year. Click here to download my calculations, explanations, and sources.

 

Myth #2: Screen Savers save me power.

This is quite common answer and it is mostly wrong. Screen savers have no power-saving ability and, in fact, consume more power than a blank display. Displays draw a lot of power and the more it is active with moving images, the more power is consumed to create those images. A blank screen saver is slightly better than a moving one, but still not as good as shutting your display off or putting your computer to sleep.

 

Myth #3: It is bad to keep turning my computer on and off.

This is very false. Many computers are built to last 40,000 on-off cycles. If you turned it on and off every day, your computer won't start hurting until 109 years later. You could get away with shutting it on and off 30 times a day if you were to keep your computer it's average life (4 yrs.)

 

Myth #4: Turning the computer on negates all the power saved from the time it was off.

The beginning of a start up only peaks the power for a few seconds. This consumption of power does not compared to the power drawn if left on all night.

 

Myth #5: My Computer is EnergyStar efficient. That means I am saving energy even if I keep it on.

This is somewhat true. EnergyStar efficient devices do save power more than other computers, but computers will save more energy and more money while in sleep mode or by being turned off completely.

 

 

WHY DO I CARE?

This is a good question. The best answer I can think of is because it's the right thing to do. Regardless of where you live, good energy saving habits can go a long way to changing the world and how we live on it. Not only will it help others by reducing pollution and consumption of limited fuels, but also helps reduce costs for when you are paying for electricity. This will help keep you and the world happy for a long time.

SO, WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

 

There are many ways to save energy and money without jeopardizing your computing experience.

  • Put your computer to sleep whenever you leave for a long time, such as going to class, getting something to eat, or visiting a friend. All your applications will be maintained and progress won't be erased.
  • Unplug your chargers when you are not using them. This will eliminate "vampirism" when it comes to laptop and other electronic chargers.
  • Get a surge protector. Not only will it protect you from power spikes, but is far easier to unplug one thing versus the multiple chargers you may have.
  • Buy Energy Star efficient products next time you are buying a new product. Most Energy Star products are much more efficient than their counterparts without any increase in cost.
  • Adjust the power settings and screen brightness. A lot of time, these two work hand-in-hand. Every computer that has Windows or OSX has power level settings in the Control Panel or System Preferences, respectively. Tweaking these settings can greatly reduce your power needs and costs. Usually, these options will reduce the brightness of your monitor (which also reduces power consumption), but if it doesn't, refer to the instruction manual for your computer to help get you where you need to go.

 

MORE TIPS AND TRICKS

 

  • Hibernation Mode allows for the information in your memory to be saved onto your hard drive. What this will mean is that once you wake up your computer, all the information that was on your computer (email, documents, web browser) will be up like you never turned it off. Hibernation Mode consumes about 1.8 watts vs. the 30-40 if you were to have your computer on.
  • Turn off your peripherals. Your speakers, printers, scanners, etc. all consume energy, so turn them off when you are not using them.
  • Dust off your equipment. A properly cleaned PC or Mac can go a long way to making your computer more energy efficient. Compressed air should set you back 2 bucks and will make your computer faster and more efficient.
  • Use Ryman Eco or Garamond font. This fonts allow you to have font that is equal to or better than Times New Roman while reducing toner usage, saving on paper and toner waste.
  • Print double-sided. This is an obvious one, but printing double-sided effectively saves you half of the paper being used, which can go a long way.
  • Print multi-slide pages. When you have to print off Powerpoint slides, switch to multiple slides to a page. You can have plenty of room to write notes on two or more slides per page and you are cutting back on paper waste.