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Save on Electricity with a Green Computer

Every day my morning starts the same. I jiggle my mouse and wait for my screen to flicker to my

Photo Credit: Brenna Malmberg

Photo Credit: Brenna Malmberg

folder-filled desktop. The inside hums; the lights steadily increase their glow. Each electronic indicator brings me closer to the workday but also costs me more energy.

With a little consumer awareness, I can save on electricity with a green computer. If every person in the United States converted to a green computer, together we could save $1.8 billion a year.  [1]

One way to find a green computer is through EPEAT. EPEAT is an environmental rating company that validates eco-friendly electronics, such as green computers. The EPEAT rating system looks at the whole product, from material to energy use. They judge based on required and optional items, and products earn a bronze, silver or gold rating. [2] Its website offers more than 2,353 options for a green computer.

Another way to make the switch is to look for products with an Energy Star label. These devices have already passed Energy Star’s product criteria. These include energy efficient power supply; operation in multiple modes such as off, sleep and idle; and power management features that the user can adjust. [3]

How much you save on electricity with a green computer depends on how you use it. First off, ditch the screensaver. It may look pretty, but you will save more energy by letting the computer fall into a deep sleep and display a black screen. Also make sure you computer and monitor switch to a low-power mode after a period of inactivity. Many people only know to change the monitor, not the whole unit. Energy Star can help you find the settings for your device’s power management. [4] This allows you to eliminate the rebooting time every morning and save on electricity, which adds up to about $50 annually, especially if you typically leave your computer on 24/7.

To see how much you are saving on electricity, download the Energy Star Estimate Your PC Power Management Savings spreadsheet. [5] This sheet shows how much you save annually and can help you adjust your habits.

For me, I can save more than $15 annually by eliminating my screensaver and sliding my inactivity period down a few minutes. Thanks to the new settings, I can work all day knowing I am conserving energy. How much can you save on electricity with a green computer?

All the different ways to save money and the environment look enticing, and when you learn that many computers already at your finger tips are Energy Star certified, the green computer switch is easy or already happening. You can find Energy Star computers at your local electronic store or online. Just look for the Energy Star logo. When you do, you will see it on familiar computer brands, such as HP and Apple. For most people, there will be a computer for your needs in the Energy Star window, so you won’t lose any speed or power by going green.

[1] Energy Star Computer Savings

[2] EPEAT Environmental Criteria

[3] Energy Star Computer Criteria

[4] Energy Star Power Modes

[5] Estimate Your PC Power Management Savings

 

Author: Brenna Malmberg

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