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Earth Day Tech Tips to Save Energy!

Computers have become a part of our daily lives. Unfortunately the manufacturing and use of computers is also a major contributor to our waste stream and energy consumption. Take a moment to read the tips below to help reduce your impact on the environment (and save some cash in the process!).

Reduce Energy Consumption

1) Did you know that approximately 40% of the energy used for home electronics is consumed while these devices are turned off or idling? When not in use for extended periods, switch your computer OFF and unplug it. Despite popular belief, powering your computer on and off daily will not harm your computer.

2) Configure your power saving options for energy savings when your computer is temporarily not in use. For example, set your computer to put your monitor to sleep, spin down your hard drives.

3) If you’re going to use a screen saver, use a blank (black) screen – animated screen savers just consume more electricity.

4) Don’t forget your EXTRAS! Turn off your power-hungry printer, speakers, monitor, and any other hardware that is sucking up energy when not being used.

Reduce Paper Waste

1) First and foremost, ask yourself: Do I really need to print this? While some paper gets recycled, it is still the largest component of the waste stream that ends up in landfills. Do earth a favor by saving trees.

2) If you are printing from the web, there are several easy to use tools that will help you remove stuff like ads and images before printing, which saves ink and paper. Here are a few: Aardvark (firefox extension), GreenPrint (also works with Office) and PrintWhatYouLike.

3) If you have a bunch of one-sided print-outs that you no longer need, contribute them to the scrap paper box located on the counter of the library service desk. Use both sides of paper before recycling.

Reuse and Recycle Hardware

1) Before purchasing a new computer, consider upgrading hardware in your current machine. Some extra memory or a new hard drive may be all you need to restore life to your current system.

2) As time goes by, your machine may suffer from software bloat. All the updates, installing of software, applications running in the background that you don’t really need clog up your machine up and slow down its performance, which in turn increases electricity consumption. Consider doing a reinstallation of Windows and your software. A lean machine will sip less electricity and perform much better.

3) When you do replace your computer, donate or recycle it.

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