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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24 thoughts on “How to Save Energy”

  1. Nice Video every time I am on my laptop I have 7.1 speakers, The laptop pulg,the extender plug all for the laptop every time I am not useing them I stich both of them of this saves us power which is good. I also have an evergy bulb in my bedroom and also turn of the lights when not in use. Nice video Chris keep going!!!!

  2. Save power in your freezer if it’s empty take whatever empty containers you have lying around fill them 3/4 with water and pack your freezer as tightly as you can. Unlike your refrigerator which needs air to circulate freely the tighter you can pack your freezer the less energy it will use.

  3. I’ve been holding off on buying an LCD for a while now, but with prices lower than ever, and an environmental reason to do so, I may finally make the leap.

    Another power saving option to consider are the new ‘smart’ power strips that help reduce the trickle of electricity that many electronics consume even when they’re powered off.

  4. These tips are great for so many reasons. For one, they encourage, well obviously, conserving energy, and because of that, they help the environment. Also, they help you save money on electricity, so you can buy more geek toys!

  5. Good post. I didn’t think of using a tool to keep track of how much power I am using. I will have to look into that.

    I already have the energy saving light bulbs throughout my apartment. That was actually one of the first things I did when I moved in, I ran around and changed all of the light bulbs.

    I try to not leave any lights on when I leave a room for more than 5 minutes. Sometimes it can’t be helped, but I do try my hardest to flip that switch when walking out.

    I use Hibernation mode on my computer. The only time I actually power it off is usually during the nasty Florida storms. I have power strips, but I still rather not chance it.

    Speaking of power strips, I have ALL of my electronics plugged into a power strip of some sort. It makes it way easier to unplug everything during those nasty storms when all I have is one plug to remove instead of many.

    I have an LCD monitor and wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m in the process of acquiring one to replace my mother’s CRT monitor actually, as well as replacing her PC.

    I love tips like these. Simple stuff that a lot of people don’t know or think about. Thanks for these. 🙂

  6. My mom loved the tips chris! She says one of the best ways to save energy was to turn the AC off when the air out side its nice and chill. Meaning its time to open the windows. Another thing people might want to do, is buy a special light bulb that is a little more expensive, but saves a lot more energy.

  7. I always turn my computer to hibernate because it both saves power, and money so i can get all of those cool gadgets from thinkgeek.com =D

  8. This post is funny, I don’t know if Chris still does it now, but before he would leave his dual monitors on all day and night when not using it with a screen saver of bouncing cows or flying toasters. lol

  9. Instead of buying Compact Fluorescents (CFLs), shop around online (haven’t seen any brick and mortar stores) for LED replacement bulbs. They consume a lot less energy, about 97% less than an incandescent light bulb and last for about 10 years or more depending on usage). Also CFLs, like their big Fluorescent siblings, contain mercury.

    The only drawback is cost, but that will change as the technology matures. CFLs were also quite expensive when they first came out, and as time went on the cost came down as the quality improved.

    One last thing, consider getting a programmable thermostat for your furnace and/or air conditioner, you can pick one up for as little as $50. A couple of degrees in change of temperature when no one is home, or when you are asleep, can save you a lot over the course of a year, and also help the environment.

  10. It’s worth underlining the ‘relative screen size’ comment when you replace your CRT. It’s pretty affordable these days to get a 22″ lcd to replace a 17″ crt, but don’t think you’ll be saving lots of energy. You may be adding a device that draw *more* power…

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