By Jim Lynch, Director, Computer Recycling & Reuse and GreenTech Program
The following is a list of 10 energy-efficient computing tips from TechSoup and Climate Savers Computing to help guide your IT habits in 2010:
- Use computer and monitor power management. Doing so can save nearly half a ton of CO2 and more than $60 a year in energy costs.
- Don’t use a screen saver. Screen savers are not necessary on modern monitors, and studies show they actually consume more energy than allowing the monitor to dim when it’s not in use.
- Buying a new computer and/or monitor? Make energy efficiency a priority while shopping for your PC and monitor. Buy EPEAT rated new computers, or if you buy from a retail store, look for the ENERGY STAR label or browse the Climate Savers Computing product catalog.
- Buy refurbished computers if you mostly do basic things on computers like word processing, Internet browsing, e-mail, and downloading/uploading digital photos. Refurbished computers cost less than new computers and extend the life of IT equipment. The U.S. EPA Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator finds that it is roughly 25 times more beneficial environmentally to reuse desktop computers than to recycle them at three to five years of age.
- Turn down the brightness setting on your monitor. The brightest setting on a monitor consumes twice the power used by the dimmest setting.
- Turn off peripherals such as printers, scanners and speakers when not in use. You can use smart power strips, which automatically turn off your accessories when you shut down your computer — or plug all your electronics into one power strip and turn the strip off when you are finished using your computer.
- Use a laptop instead of a desktop. Laptops typically consume less than half the power that desktops use.
- Use rechargeable batteries in IT devices like digital cameras. They are now low-cost, have long life, save you money and reduce toxics in landfills.
- Use a power meter like Verdiem's free Edison application to find out how much energy your computer actually consumes and to calculate your actual savings.
- Recycle your old electronics (anything with a plug), batteries, CFLs and ink cartridges. Reduce toxics in landfills. You can learn how to recycle electronics and find recycling centers here.