How to Save Energy

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The cost of energy these days is outrageous. Many of us cut corners wherever and whenever we can. Ryan_Leaf sent in some excellent tips to help all of us conserve energy. How many of these do you already do?

  • See how much power you are consuming You have to start somewhere, and by knowing how much everything consumes you can tell what you might want to remove or replace. You can use something like the Kill A Watt, which will display how much power you are consuming. Take a pencil and paper, and write down what you’re testing, and how much it draws. I was told that the “VA” mode gives the actual amount of energy that you are paying for. If you forget to hit the “VA” button on the Kill A Watt, and don’t want to redo the whole process again, plug it back in and hit the “PF”, or “power factor” button and then use the formula ‘Watts / PF = VA’.
  • Adjust your computer’s settings This is a simple and free way to cut back on consumption. In Windows, you can set the monitors and hard drives to turn off after a certain length of time. However, if you set it to four hours before they turn off it is almost pointless. Set it to around 30 minutes. Windows also allows you to put your computer into Stand-By or Hibernate mode. Consider telling it to put the computer to Stand-By mode after approximately 45 minutes to an hour. If you are working on something at night and don’t want to re-open all of your work when you return, enable Hibernate mode and ‘hibernate’ it overnight. This draws no power at all, so it’s optimal if you’re going to be away from your computer for any length of time.
  • Turn it off Do you really need to have the television on while you listen to music? Is it necessary to leave your computer on overnight, idle? By turning off items you’re not using, you can conserve a lot of power. Consider plugging items into a power-strip or surge protector if you don’t already. Many televisions and other consumer electronics still draw a considerable amount of power when they are ‘off’. By turning off the power-strip you stop it from drawing power completely.
  • Try to replace the biggest consumers If you still have a CRT on your desk, replace it with an LCD. Not only will this improve the clarity of the screen, but it also will draw much less power for the relative screen size. In addition, if you still are using incandescent lightbulbs, replace them with compact florescent bulbs. Also, if you have an older computer that draws a lot of power, consider replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient one. New computers not only improve performance, but many, if not all, include better power-saving features. I personally switched to a Mac Mini recently, and was shocked it only drew 23 watts on the desktop, and 1 watt in ‘sleep’ mode.

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