Quantcast

What Can Be Done to Make Computers More Efficient?

Energy
iStock

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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

California Yosemite River Scene. Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

An advisory panel appointed by Trump's first Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, has recommended privatizing National Parks campgrounds, allowing food trucks in and setting up WiFi at campgrounds while also reducing benefits to seniors, according to the panel's memo.

Read More Show Less
Strips of native prairie grasses planted on Larry and Margaret Stone's Iowa farm protect soil, water and wildlife. Iowa State University / Omar de Kok-Mercado, CC BY-ND

By Lisa Schulte Moore

Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses bring the state a lot of political attention during presidential election cycles. But in my view, even though some candidates have outlined positions on food and farming, agriculture rarely gets the attention it deserves.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
In Haiti, Action Against Hunger screens children for malnutrition. Christophe Da Silva / Action Against Hunger, Haiti

By Dr. Charles Owubah

As a child growing up on a farm in Ghana, I have personally known hunger. The most challenging time was between planting and harvesting – "the hunger season." There were many occasions when we did not know where the next meal would come from.

Today, on World Food Day, I think of the 820 million people around the world who are undernourished.

Read More Show Less
A Lyme disease warning on Montauk, Long Island, New York. Neil R / Flickr

Biomedical engineers have developed a new, rapid test capable of detecting Lyme disease in just 15 minutes.

Read More Show Less
Brown bear fishing for salmon in creek at Pavlof Harbor in Tongass National Forest, Alaska. Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket / Getty Images

The Trump administration has moved one step closer to opening Earth's largest intact temperate rainforest to logging.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Democratic primary candidates take the stage during Tuesday's debate. SAUL LOEB / AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday night, the Democratic presidential candidates gathered for what The Guardian said was the largest primary debate in U.S. history, and they weren't asked a single question about the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A. Battenburg / Technical University of Munich

By Sarah Kennedy

Algae in a pond may look flimsy. But scientists are using algae to develop industrial-strength material that's as hard as steel but only a fraction of the weight.



Read More Show Less
Variety of fermented food korean traditional kimchi cabbage and radish salad. white and red sauerkraut in ceramic plates over grey spotted background. Natasha Breen / REDA&CO / Universal Images Group / Getty Image

By Anne Danahy, MS, RDN

Even if you've never taken probiotics, you've probably heard of them.

These supplements provide numerous benefits because they contain live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, which support the healthy bacteria in your gut (1, 2, 3, 4).

Read More Show Less