#FreedomFrom Computer Related Energy Cost -Smart Energy Saving Tips

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It’s no surprise that almost all of us use computers, umm I can bet you’re reading this on one, or maybe on a smartphone or a tablet, which are essentially computers too. Did you know that computers, used for 8 hours a day, can account for around INR 1000 to 3000 per year in electricity bills? These simple steps will help you save a couple of hundreds or thousands off your electricity bill and also reduce your carbon footprint.

1. Replace Desktop PCs With Laptops, Tablets Or Smartphones

Desktop PCs consume the most amount of power. On an average, a desktop computer consumes around 200 watts per hour (contributes around 175 kg of CO2 per year). A laptop consumes 50 to 100 watts per hour, while tablets and smartphones consume the least. Devices dependent on battery life, such as laptops, tablets and phones are better optimized for power consumption.

2. Spike Strip

If your printer, speaker, laptop chargers are all connected on a spike strip or extension cord which doesn’t have individual switches, change it. Devices such as printers and speakers can consume 5 to 50 watts of energy on standby for doing nothing. This vampire power actually costs you a lot.

3. Smaller LED Monitor

If you are using a PC, it is better to use the smallest size monitor, as bigger screens consume more power. If you still have the old bulky CRT monitor, sell it to a recycling plant and invest in a thin LED or LCD monitor which consumes around 20 percent of the power. Look for monitors with power saving modes and auto standby feature. Some monitors from Philips have sensors that shut off the monitor if there’s no one sitting in front. These are very useful in offices where a large number of computers are used.

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4. Power Options Settings

Go to Control Panel > Power Options or you can type ‘Power options’ in the search box in the ‘Start’ menu. Select ‘Power Saver’ mode for lowest energy consumption and highest battery life. Use ‘Balanced’ and ‘High Performance’ only when required. Then click on ‘Choose when to turn off the display’. Bring down the numbers to 1 to 5 minutes, depending on what you are comfortable with. It would turn off the display or put the computer in sleep mode if there’s inactivity for the time that you’ve input.

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5. Hibernate Vs Sleep

In the ‘Start’ menu, there’s a hibernate option beside ‘Shutdown’, ‘Restart’ and ‘Sleep’. Like the turning off (‘Shut Down’ mode), the ‘Hibernate’ mode doesn’t consume any power on standby. It saves your existing work on the hard disk and powers off the computer, and you can resume as you had left. ‘Sleep’ mode on the other hand, does the same, but keeps a few things on and so consumes power for a quicker resumption of work. It is greener to set the computer to hibernate instead of sleep when you leave for lunch or leave it for some time. You can use hibernate instead of shut-down too, both consume zero power on standby. You can set your laptop to do this when idle, by going to the same ‘Power Options’ in Control Panel and clicking on ‘Choose what the power button does’ or ‘Choose what closing the lid does’.

6. Cooler Is Greener

Keep the vents of your laptop or PC open for free flow of air. A hotter device will consume more energy and is also bad for the life of the device. You can raise your laptop on the edges to create an air gap below it or place it on a metal plate with holes in it. Alternatively, you can buy a laptop cooling fan. Your WiFi router should be kept in a well vented area. Attach a metal plate to it to keep it cooler and turn it off when not in use.

7. Turn Off WiFi BlueTooth

Switch off the Wifi and BlueTooth when not in use, as they consume a substantial amount of power. If you have your computer switched on overnight to download any files, set it on power saver mode, enable auto shutdown after downloads are completed, and turn off the display. It is better to download on smaller devices such as phones, tablets or mini laptops than PCs.

Let us know if we have missed something, or your experience in doing so.

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