Saving Energy on Computer & Office Equipment

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  • Computers and office equipment are some of the fastest-growing sources of electricity consumption.
  • Laptops use about ¼ the electricity of most desktop models.
  • Energy use by office equipment is expected to grow by as much as 500% in the next decade.

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According to the US Department of Energy, computers and office equipment are some of the fastest-growing sources of electricity consumption in schools, businesses, and homes. This category includes:

  • Computers,
  • Monitors,
  • Printers,
  • Facsimile machines, and Copiers.

Energy use by office equipment is expected to grow by as much as 500 percent in the next decade. Follow these tips to ensure your computers and related equipment are not using unnecessary power:

  • Turn off screen savers. While these programs do help with burn damage to monitors, they actually waste power keeping your computer active.
  • Turn off equipment when not in use. Contrary to popular belief, turning off older computers and printers will not wear them down more quickly (as long as it is not to excess-more than six times daily). Turning off equipment at night can cut annual energy costs by as much as $200 per computer.
  • Consider upgrades. If your budget allows, look into newer computer models. Flat screen monitors are quickly becoming the most energy efficient part of the system. Although they do cost more, they will save you money (about 1/3 less energy consumed) and office space in the long term.
  • Share printers. If you have several computers in your home, network them to one printer to save energy.
  • Configure your computer for “sleep mode.” ENERGY STAR® settings are being built into more and more computer systems. For ideal savings, set your power management to turn off your monitor after ten minutes and your hard disks after twenty minutes. Detailed Windows & Mac instructions.
  • Donate older equipment. Many non-profits, schools, churches, and other charitable organizations are in need of computer and office equipment. Look in your phone book for resources or go online to find national recycling programs.
  • Consider laptops. They tend to use about ¼ the electricity of most desktop models.