Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Part 1)
Have you ever wondered how we are impacting the environment through our growing reliance on technology? Personal computers in our homes have added to our daily personal consumption of paper, electricity and chemicals. Here are the first of our tips for reducing technology’s contribution to global warming, or maybe just reducing your power bill.
… your power consumption: Whilst your power bill shows the impact of your technology on your wallet, what you can’t see is the environmental impact of producing that power.
Goodbye, screen saver: Screen savers were designed as a moving image to prevent a still picture from being ‘burnt into’ a monitor, after being displayed for too long. Instead, consider setting your computer to turn off your monitor after a period of inactivity.
Standby modes: Most commonly found in printers, some technology components can be set to ‘sleep’ or ‘standby’ when they are not actively being used, using less power.
Power off: Standby modes still consume power however, so physically turn your technology off at the wall at night when you leave the office, if possible.
If your computers run processes like backups after you’ve left, schedule them to shut down automatically later in the evening.
Consider setting up your power boards so devices that can be powered off overnight are on one circuit.
Note: Some computer monitoring and updating processes require your computers to be on at all times. You can turn off the monitor screens, but check with your local Computer Troubleshooter about shutting down your PCs at night.
Energy efficient devices: When purchasing technology, check out the device’s power consumption ratings and power saving modes.
If available, choose a device with an ‘Energy Star’ label. This was introduced in the USA to show consumers that an appliance had met certain energy efficiency standards, and has been licensed for use in other countries including Japan, Australia and the European Union.
LCD monitors have been shown to require approximately half the power of traditional old CRT style monitors. Now you have a great reason to upgrade to a ‘flat’ screen, apart from the fact that they look great.
… your travel: Transportation continues to be a major contributor to carbon emissions around the world. Fortunately, technology now allows you to share files with remote locations and even use audio and video across internet links. Consider if you can work remotely or participate in a computer-based video conference, rather than booking that plane ticket.
… your paper consumption: Is the ‘paperless’ office really possible? How many documents appear on your computer screen via email, only to be printed out?
Consider generating electronic invoices and emailing them to your customers.
Use a printer with a double-sided (or ‘duplex') feature, to halve your paper consumption by printing on both sides of the sheet.
Use the ‘editing’ or ‘mark-up’ functions in your word processor to highlight and comment within documents on your screen and then email them back to the writer.
Train yourself to read as much as possible on your computer screen. Our natural inclination is to print a large document to read it, as we are used to a paper-based world.
Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter about making your technology more environmentally friendly. Next month, we’ll look at what you can reuse or recycle.
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