Green Computing Tips for the Home or Office
You may not realize it, but your computer is using energy right now while you are looking for ways to go green online. Yet is your machine using that energy as efficiently as possible?
Luckily, you don’t have to analyze or even understand the internal working of your computer – leave that to the students attending PhD programs in computer science – to find out. Minimizing your computer’s carbon footprint is as easy as adjusting a few settings.
Turn Off Your Computer
Clearly one of the easiest ways to save energy is to turn your computer off and not use it at all. While that is not likely to happen permanently, particularly right now, you can save a significant amount of energy if you remember to turn your machine off when you are not using it. Many computer users leave their energy draining desktops on all day and night. Instead use a power strip to quickly power off the computer and any computer accessories.
Let Your Device Seep or Hibernate
Unfortunately shutting down computers entirely everyday is not an option for many businesses and schools, as they need to leave computers on all the time so users can gain instant access. However a great alternative is putting computers in hibernate or sleep mode. Hibernate mode powers down the hardware after saving the RAM so that the computer starts up exactly where you left it before hibernation.
The main advantage of hibernation mode is that the computer doesn’t draw any power while in hibernation, and boots up very quickly compared to rebooting. Similarly, while sleep mode does draw some minimal power, it powers down the processing functions while saving the RAM, but allows for almost instantaneous access.
Adjust Settings for Efficiency
Another way to reduce your computer’s power consumption is by adjusting some of your computer’s settings. According to PC Magazine’s Seven Power-Saving Tips, you should use your computer’s power-saving features, reduce the screen brightness and pass on the screen saver, which draws power to the monitor.
Keep Your Computer Clean
Keeping your computer maintained is key aspect to ensuring that it runs efficiently. A hot laptop uses energy to power its fans to keep it cool, so keep your computer’s cooling vents clear, avoid using your laptop on surfaces such as beds or couches (sheets and cushions can reduce the airflow around the vents) and clean the battery contacts. You should also clean the inside of your desktop’s tower to avoid buildup of dust and other particles that can clog up the fans.
Go to the Cloud
Consider switching to cloud computing to reduce your business’ energy use. According to Green Biz’s article “4 Reasons Why Cloud Computing is Also a Green Solution,” a cloud-based infrastructure reduces the physical footprint and energy consumption of a server by allowing multiple operating system images to run on one server.
Upgrade to a Green Computer
If you are considering purchasing a new computer, choose an Energy Star rated computer and make sure it has a flat-panel LCD (the smaller the better). Hewlett Packard’s energy tips claim switching from a CRT monitor to an LCD monitor can mean obtaining a monitor that has double the lifespan and power savings of up to 70 percent. Be sure to recycle your old computer in order to recover reusable materials and keep harmful materials out of landfills.
Many computer users are passionate about the environment, and are eager to help reduce their impact on their environment. Now that you know several ways to go green online, do your part for the environment. It can be as easy as changing a few settings, turning your computer off when you are sleeping and keeping your computer clean and cool.
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This has been a guest post for Easy Ways to Go Green. Brittany Lyons aspires to become a psychology professor, but decided to take some time off from grad school to help people learn to navigate the academic lifestyle. She currently lives in Spokane, Washington, where she spends her time reading science fiction and walking her dog.[Image Via: VividEdge]