A Battery of Ideas to Help You Save Money

from flickr / Ian Sane

As a college student, I use my laptop pretty much constantly: writing papers, doing research, and even finding time for a little facebooking. Even when I’m not using it, my computer is usually turned on, but in “sleep” mode, so that I can access it for quick and easy use.

As my computer gets older, and its battery begins to fade, I find that I have to plug in my computer more and more. So, I plug my computer in every night before I go to bed. It took me a few months of doing this to realize just how much energy I waste, so I’ve compiled a few tips. Here’s how to use your computer’s battery life more efficiently and save money at the same time.

1)    Try lowering your computer’s brightness settings. Dimming your display saves battery power.

2)    Make sure you unplug your computer charger when you’re done with it since chargers consume energy even when they’re not in use.

3)    Turn off your computer at night. Studies show that this one simple trick will save an average of $90 in energy bills every year, and will reduce wear and tear on your computer. If you have a desktop, make sure you unplug after it’s turned off, as appliances also use power when plugged in.

4)    Keep the number of applications running to a minimum.

5)    Set your computer or display “sleep” setting at 5 minutes instead of 30.

6)    Turn off wi-fi when you’re not using it.

7)    Use your laptop instead. Laptops use about 15-60 watts of power, while desktops use 65-250 watts – plus another 15-80 watts for a monitor.

Our typical power strip

By Karl Baron

Probably the most important of all these tips, both from an energy-saving and money-saving perspective, is turning off your computer, especially at night. The Department of Energy recommends shutting off your monitor if you aren’t going to use it for more than 20 minutes, and shutting off the whole system if you’re not going to use it for more than two hours, adding that doing this will also extend the life of your machine.  So if you’re like me, and your always looking for ways to save money and be green, try something as easy as turning off your computer when you don’t need it!

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