Set your computer's power management option settings so that the monitor automatically powers down at a predetermined interval, and shut down your computer, printer, and peripherals when leaving the office for two hours or more (and certainly overnight, weekends, and during travel trips).
Just as with turning off office lights in unoccupied rooms, shut down your computer, monitor, and peripherals when you are not going to be using them for several hours or more. Turning them off at the end of the day and on weekends accrues substantial savings.
Some staff dislike the time it takes to restart computers and prefer leaving their computers on all day. But these power saving features can be set to begin within a specified range of minutes after typing or copying stops. Unfortunately, research indicates that only half of all Energy Star computers have the power-saving features enabled. Screensavers, by the way, are not in sleep mode but actively consuming electricity.
Getting everyone to turn off computers overnight and on weekends would reduce energy use nationwide by an extra 7 billion kWh/year, equal to three 500 MW coal power plants.
If you use a laptop computer, increase the size of the font for easy reading, and eliminate the need for a large monitor.
Many employees are increasingly shifting from desktop to notebook computers, largely because of the portability value the notebook offers for work travel, as well as for taking home to work. There is a price premium for this portability – notebooks still cost up to twice as much as a comparable desktop model, although prices steadily drop. However, in addition to the electricity savings the notebook gains over years of operation, there is the opportunity to save $200 to $500 or more by eliminating the purchase of a separate monitor.
Reduce phantom electricity use by using a power strip to plug in all your computer equipment, and turn the power strip off overnight and weekends.
Each appliance leaks anywhere from less than one to more than 20 watts continuously, (a typical house draws about 50 watts from leaking appliances) -- all while the appliances are turned off! Nationwide, leaking electricity from all devices requires the operation of eight large power plants that emit roughly 12 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
Amazingly, about 3 billion kWh per year (two large coal-fired powerplants), which is 4% of all the office equipment energy use, is consumed in off mode – electricity being consumed to keep the machine in ready mode for rapid start-up! Plugging the office equipment into a power strip, which is then switched off at night and on in the morning, can save this "off mode" electricity. There is quite a range of quality among power strips, from unsafe to high-performance. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers about millions of faulty extension cords, power strips and surge protectors that pose a fire, shock and electrocution danger. So be cautious when purchasing a power strip in order to ensure proper and safe selection.
Recycle all batteries.
There are numerous types of batteries, depletable and rechargeable, including small dry-cell Zinc-Manganese-Dioxide (Alkaline), Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), Silver Oxide and Mercury Oxide (specialty buttons), and Small Sealed Lead Acid (Pb) batteries. Toxic metals found in batteries include mercury, cadmium, lead, zinc, manganese, lithium, silver, and nickel. When disposed of improperly, these metals can pose risks for human health and the environment; for example, when toxic metals end up in the landfill they can leach into the groundwater.
Battery use has become ubiquitous, and continues growing with the creation of new electronic equipment (e.g., cell phones, cameras, camcorders, palm pilots, walkmans, clocks, laptops, calculators). So ask your company's administration department to set up a battery recycling collection box in a convenient office location where staff can drop off dead batteries, including those brought in from home.
Even prior to recycling, you can minimize the need for replacement batteries by:
- Shifting from depletable or non-rechargeable batteries to rechargeable ones
- Properly recharge your batteries to extend their useful life and prevent premature mortality
The cycle life of a battery is the number of discharge/recharge cycles the battery can sustain, with normal care and usage patterns, before it can no longer hold a useful amount of charge.
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