Computers require electricity, and there's no way to get around that . However, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of energy and other resources your computer (and associated equipment) uses. First, lets look at some other common-sense energy conservation tips:
The university is banning the use of all space heaters in offices, due to power consumption issues. For buildings that are too warm, cracking a window is preferred to using window air conditioners. It is important to dress appropriately to your work (office/classroom) conditions and not just the outside weather. Dressing with layers (sweaters, etc.) will help you to control your comfort level by controlling the number of layers you wear at any given time.
Turn off any room lights, whenever possible. This includes unoccupied restrooms. If ambient light is sufficient (during daylight hours) make use of it where ever possible.
Many years ago computers could get damaged by the initial surge of power when they started up, and so at that time it made sense to keep them on all the time. These days the technology has improved to the point where start-up wear-and-tear is negligible and so it makes sense to turn it off when you don't need it.
If you really can't stand to wait for it to start up the next morning, at least put your computer in standby mode at the end of the day. You'll still save 95% of the electricity used compared to leaving it on but idle while you're away.
Monitors are generall easy and fast to turn off and back on. Even if you're only going to be out for 20 minutes there's no reason not to tap the moniotor power button on the way out.
If you're not listening to something, keep the speakers turned off. If they're on then they draw 10 or more watts just sitting there.
Most electronic devices these days draw some power even then they're 'off' (known as a vampire load). If you're going to be away for a vacation or a conference or some such, then unplug them before you leave.
To make this more convenient, plug all your stuff into a powerstrip instead of directly into the wall, and simply turn off or unplug the powerstrip.
If you have an office or desk lamp that uses incandescent bulbs, replace them with the new compact flourescent, or even better (but more espensive) LED, bulbs. CF bulbs use 25% or less the energy of incandescent ones. LEDs use 10% or less.
One note about CF bulbs, they do take 30 seconds or a minute to come up to full brightness, so don't be put off if they don't seem as bright right when they're turned on.
Set your computer to go into sleep / stand by when it's inactive for too long. A computer in sleep mode uses about 5% the energy of one running a "screen saver". While you're at it, set up your monitor to likewise go to sleep. One site that has useful information about this is http://www.xvsxp.com/system/power_management.php.
- Right-click on your desktop and select Properties from the menu that pops up - this brings up the Display Properties dialog
- Click on the Screen Saver tab - this brings you to the screen saver options
- Click on the Power button (towards the lower right part of the dialog box) - this brings up the Power Options Properties dialog
- In the Power Schemes tab (the one that shows up when the dialog appears) you can set the time out for your monitor, harddisk, and whole system - i.e. the amount of time from the last user action (keyboard or mouse) after which the system will sleep or turn off that component. It's worth setting your monitor for something relatively short (10 or 20 minutes) since it comes back on pretty quickly. Your hard disk can be set to something a bit longer (maybe 45 minutes, or perhaps 2 hours), and your whole system to something longer yet (maybe 2 or 3 hours, or shorter if you don't mind waiting a minute or so for your system to wake back up once it's gone to standby).
*Note: Some Windows computers experience problems or delays in "waking" from sleep settings. ITS recommends manually turning off your monitor when you are away from your computer and shutting down when you will be out of your office for longer periods of time.
- Go to the Apple Menu, select System Preferences.
- Click Energy Saver
- For the Sleep section, put the computer to sleep after an hour (or less). You can put the display to sleep much earlier, say 15 minutes.
There's a lot of variation between how much electricity various computers use. Most manufactures websites have that kind of information (links here) and a bit of research on the internet can usually find even more.
In general, a laptop uses about 1/3 the electricity of a desktop, but that does have to be balanced against the extra cost and greater fragility of a laptop. Still, it's worth considering.
In general the newer, faster, more powerful machines use more electricity (even when idle, and even when sleeping) than other machines.
Office of Information Technology Services, 114 Otto Olsen Bldg, (308) 865-8950
ITS HOME | POLICIES | ABOUT ITS