Today is Blog Action Day, and as such, I am posting an environmental article. When I was trying to think this up, I decided it better to focus on how you can save electricity with your computer and electronics, rather than the generic “use fluorescent light bulbs” and “drive a hybrid” type of advice, which is more plentiful than sand. So here they are, my 7 tips on how to do your part and save electricity. Because we need electricity. Without it, you wouldn’t be reading this!
- Use Standby and Hibernate on your computer as much as you can. For those who don’t know, standby works by shutting off everything (hard drive, screen, processor, etc) except for your RAM. When you wake up your computer, it returns power to everything, and you can return right where you started, becaues your RAM is still there. Hibernate works by copying your RAM to your hard drive, and then shutting down EVERYTHING. That is why you need to wait 30 seconds entering and leaving hibernation. Even if you are just leaving for 5 minutes, standby will save power. Overnight, I recommend hibernation over shutting down your compouter. Why? Simply because hibernation takes less time to boot than booting from scratch, thus you use less energy.
- Optimize your computer’s power options. Go into windows’ power options menu and bring the values down as low as you can, while still being comfortable. For example, I have my laptop set to turn off it’s screen after 5 minutes of non-use, and turn off it’s hard drive after 10. This is very useful to me, because I don’t always realize how long I will be away from the computer, and thus I may not standby before I leave.
- Switch your CRT to LCD. If you are stuck in year 2000 with your CRT monitor and you are itching to get a new flatscreen LCD monitor, now you have a good excuse. CRTs require 60-70 watts of electricity, while LCDs only require 14-17, depending on the size.
- Turn off extra peripherals you are not using. This includes charging your ipod which is already charged, a plugged in digital camera, or those tacky USB lava-lamps or lights. If you are not using it, unplug it!
- Turn off your entire power bar when you aren’t using it. This applies to your computer bar, as well as the power bar for your entertainment system, and even your kitchen appliances. TVs, printers, and kitchen appliances are notorious for sucking power even when in standby. Each might only pull a couple of watts, but when combined with all the other standby-sucking appliances, you can save quite a lot on your energy bill by cutting the power to these hogs.
- Use a personal cooler/heater at night. Okay, this has nothing to do with your computer, but you have to admit it is really cool. The basic idea is instead of heating or cooling your entire house during the night, you can turn down the heater or AC at night, and use something to heat/cool your room. For heat, I recommend using extra blankets, and for extra cooling, try running an electric fan over a pan of cool water near your bed. The water will evaporate and cool you down at night.
- Take public transport. Whether you are going to school, going to a theme park, or anywhere else, look into public transport. Not only will you help save the environment, but with today’s gas prices, you will sure save a buck!
Blog Action Day is a global blogosphere event, where bloggers post about environmental issues, to raise awareness about our environment. If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and family. You can find more at www.blogactionday.com
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