As you may already know, Saturday, April 22nd is Earth Day. To mark the occasion, we’re sharing some helpful tips on going green with your technology. Dialing down the impact your technology use has on the environment is easier than you might think. A few small adjustments can make a surprisingly big difference.
Take power consumption, for example. Did you know that if your desktop computer is left running it continues to draw power even when it’s not in use? In fact, it takes a substantial amount of energy just to sit idle on your desk. On average, only a small fraction of the total power consumption your computer is responsible for is actually due to the computer being in use.
You can reduce your computer’s total energy consumption by as much as 80% just by powering it down when you’re not using it. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to shut down your system repeatedly through the day just because you’re not on your computer constantly. But you should be aware of how much time you’re spending away from your desk, and make adjustments accordingly.
If you’re just running over to the printer or refilling your coffee mug, you don’t need to worry about what your system is doing. But if you need to stop by a coworker’s office on your way back from the coffee pot, switch off your monitor before you step away from your desk. A good rule of thumb is that if you plan to be gone for more than twenty minutes, your monitor should be turned off.
As for the system itself, if you’re headed out to lunch or to a meeting, you’ll want to power down both the monitor and the computer. You have two options in this scenario – either you can manually power down the system each time, or you can change your computer’s power settings to flip into sleep mode if the system is left idle for more than a set span of time.
Sleep mode powers down your computer automatically (think about what happens to your laptop when you close it – it’s the same idea) when it’s been inactive for too long. Changing your settings is the smarter of the two options. Not only does it save you having to remember to turn your computer off each time, but it covers you in the event that you get tied up somewhere away from your desk for longer than you’d intended.
By doing something as basic as not leaving your computer running when it doesn’t need to be on, you’re doing your part to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. And since adopting this policy with a single computer can reduce annual hydro costs by up to $75, your boss will appreciate it, too. And if you happen to be the one paying that bill? Multiply that $75 by the number of desktop computers your business currently has in use, and you might just be surprised by what that adds up to.
Going green isn’t just great for the planet – it can be great for your business, too.