The Sustainable Office – Part 1: Computers

Welcome to the first in a ten-part series about The Sustainable Office. These tips will make your workplace greener while saving you money and/or boosting productivity. Much of our time is spent at work, in the office, so it makes sense to consider the impacts of that time on the environment and to think of ways to reduce our impact. We will start with something basic that can be done by just about every office worker – reducing your computer’s energy consumption. Here are some easy steps you can take to reduce the amount of electricity consumed by your computer

1. Adjust power settings

The hard drive and the display are the two biggest power consumers on your computer. By adjusting your power settings, you can tell them at what level to operate and to turn off when you are not using them. Windows XP and Windows Vista come with energy-saving power plans. Using energy-saving power plans sacrifices a negligible amount of performance while saving a significant amount of power.

2. Use laptops instead of desktops

Laptops are designed for long battery life, which means they are designed to be energy efficient. In general, laptops consume less energy than desktops.

3. Skip the screen saver

Rather than a screen saver, have your computer turn off the display after a few minutes of inactivity. You can even have your computer turn off the hard drive and go into an extremely low-power state after periods of inactivity, which brings us to the next point…

4. Standby/Hibernation mode

Put your computer in standby or hibernation mode when you won’t be using it but you don’t want to shut it down. Why not let your computer rest during your lunch break too?

5. Turn your computer off at night

Actually, don’t just turn it off, but turn off or unplug the power strip it is plugged into. Even when they are off, computers and adapters consume a small amount of energy. There are power strips that automatically stop the flow of idle energy. Check out the Smart Strip for a smart power strip.

Smart Power Strip