Hamilton Computers: Energy Efficient Computers & Electronics

Here are some tips for running or buying an energy efficient computers and home office equipment:

  • Turn off the monitor when your computer is not in use. Over half of the energy used by the computer goes to the monitor, so turning it off will save significantly. Especially true for those with 2 or more screens for their gaming, graphics, or office systems
  • Turn scanners, printers and other peripherals off when it is not in use (except your fax machine). Even machines on standby use up to 30 watts of electricity.
  • Printing is an energy-intensive process, so print only pages you need. Edit document drafts on-screen, to reduce unnecessary printing. If you have a choice of printers, avoid using a laser printer for draft-quality printouts.
  • Print on both sides of paper to reduce paper usage
  • Re-use paper. Inkjet printers can easily accept used paper, so you can print on the unused side (Lasers apply heat to toner powder on paper, which can cause problems for second side printing except for duplex printers). Use the backside of discarded pages for jotting notes (Cut pages into quarters, for good note-sized page)
  • When considering a new computer, a laptop typically uses 10 per cent or less of the electricity consumed by typical desktop computers. Look for laptops comprised completely of 3.3-volt components (processor, memory and LCD), which use 40 to 50% less energy than 5.0-volt systems. They also have a lighter weight battery making them more carry-able.
  • Consider an inkjet printer which have low energy consumption, cost less, and permit the re-use of paper (though this may be offset by higher costs of printing consumables)
  • When buying a laser printer, look for one with an energy-saver feature, which reduces energy use when idle by over 65 per cent. Even in standby mode, laser printers use 30 - 35 % of their peak power requirements.
  • Plug computer & office accessories (like printers, shredders, scanners) into a separate power bar so these can be completely turned off when not in use, saving "phantom power" consumption during standby mode
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