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What Can Be Done to Make Computers More Efficient?

Energy
What Can Be Done to Make Computers More Efficient?
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By Bob Schildgen

Hey Mr. Green,

Q: I've read that we waste a lot of energy with computers. How much do we waste, and what can be done to make things more efficient?

—Samuel, Denver, CO

A: The EPA has updated computer standards on a regular basis for the past 25 years, and each revision has marked a reduction in power consumption. The increasing use of laptops and other smaller devices, which need a lot less power than desktop models, has helped limit total energy consumption. Nevertheless, the EPA says we still waste at least a billion dollars worth of electrical power a year simply by running less-efficient computer equipment. This waste reaches the equivalent of around 15 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions, or as much as 1.4 million motor vehicles. But the total waste may be actually much greater.


Simply by activating power management on your computer you can save anywhere from $10 to $100 a year. For instructions on how to do this, visit the EPA's "Activate Power Management on Your Computer" page or ask your service vendor to make sure your machines are configured to take full advantage of these sleep features. Also, deploy "smart" power strips that cut off power when you're not using other devices connected to your network.

Consolidate printers: You can eliminate printers, share work-group printers, and use multi-function devices instead of individual printers, copiers, fax machines and scanners. If you still have non-networked printers or make wide use of stand-alone copiers, fax machines and scanners, printer consolidation could save a bundle: between 30 and 40 percent or more.

Reposted with permission from our media associate SIERRA Magazine.

Milkyway from Segara Anak - Rinjani Mountain. Mount Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok. It rises to 12,224 ft, making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia. On the top of the volcano is a 3.7 by 5.3 mi caldera, which is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak or Anak Laut (Child of the Sea) due to blue color of water lake as Laut (Sea). This lake is approximately 6,600 ft above sea level and estimated to be about 660 ft deep; the caldera also contains hot springs. Sasak tribe and Hindu people assume the lake and the mount are sacred and some religion activities are occasionally done in the two areas. Abdul Azis / Moment / Getty Images

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