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Jan 29, 2009

Ensure that your computer doesn't work overtime and waste electricity with these simple steps. Get rid of your screensaver, shut off your monitor and plug into a smarter power strip to save energy, money and prevent pollution from power plants.

Set Sleep Mode

Check your computer's settings and activate "sleep mode." Setting your computer to go to sleep after a few minutes of inactivity will save power and the battery if you're using a laptop. Shutting down an inactive monitor and processor can save you up to $50 a year and cut energy use by more than 90 percent. Mac users can find energy saving settings under System Preferences in the Apple menu and adjust the sleep time. Windows users will find power management in the control panel. Windows users may want to opt for operating system Vista's "hibernate" mode over sleep, because it rests the computer in a way that doesn't require you to reload everything when you switch it back on.

Get Rid of the Screen Saver

After configuring your sleep settings, take a look at your monitor. Are you using a screen saver? Those flying toasters use as much energy as leaving the computer on. With older monitors, static images would get "burned" onto the screen after a while, hence the term "screen saver" but that's no longer an issue with today's monitors. Set your computer to go to sleep or to hibernate instead.

Shut off the Monitor

Monitors typically uses more energy than the computer's hard drive. Remember to turn the monitor off when you're not using your computer. And speaking of flying toasters, if your monitor is as old as that screen saver, it might be time to consider replacing it. Older glass CRT monitors suck up more electricity than flat panel LCD screens. LCDs not only save tons of desk space and ease your eyestrain, but they also use two-thirds less power than CRT monitors. As always, look for the Energy Star label when purchasing any home or office electronics and don't throw electronics out with the trash. Monitors contain lead and should be properly disposed of.

Plug Into a Smarter Power Strip

Consider the blinking lights of the rest of the gadgets on your desk: your printer, fax machine, CD burner, external hard drive, MP3 player and any other device that is plugged into your computer. Plugging all those peripherals into a single power strip lets you turn them all off at once. New smarter power strips for the home office can automatically shut off all those peripherals when you shut off your computer. APC's SurgeArrest or Sophisticated's PowerKey Pro are power strips that "know" when your computer turns off or goes to sleep. In response, they shut down any external gadgets plugged into the same strip by cutting power to those outlets.

Finally, some good news for laptop owners: your computers are about 50 percent more efficient than comparable desktops, because they're designed to maximize battery life.

  • De-activate your screen saver setting and set it to go to sleep instead.
  • Buy a power strip for all the gadgets connected to your computer to cut off power automatically when they're not being used.
  • Get in the habit of turning off your computer monitor and other external gadgets when you're not using them. By the end of a month, saving energy at your desk at home or at work will become second nature.
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    Posted: Jan 29, 2009 8:13am

     

     
     
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