Welcome back to the world of tomorrow! For the crazy few of you who actually look forward to the unnecessarily long posts I make when I create a blog entry, you have reason to cheer.
The previous recycling topic discussed all the different kinds of things you could recycle. The previous electricity conservation one before that was about how conserving water prevents electricity wastage.
So now it’s time to move onto the next topic of interest in regards to conserving electricity. In today’s post, I’m actually going to go over a large variety of concepts instead of sticking to just one. The topics in this post brought to you (or at least inspired) by LoseYourExcuse.gov. Yum, that be some good gov.
This is a topic that has been discussed a few times before. To put it simply, devices that require standby energy end up using a large amount of electricity over time. This accumulates rather quickly, and can account for about 5% of the total power that most households use. To fight it, the easiest way is to just unplug appliances or flip off the switch if it is connected to a power strip.
I think I can hear the groan you’re probably letting out right now.. A far easier alternative, at least with power strips, is to get a “smartstrip”. Essentially, it will stop the flow of electricity to electronics that are off or in standby so you won’t have to yourself. It would be nice if there could be one for singular applications as well, but until then just try to get the smartstrips if possible. It’ll save a lot of money and prevent CO2 emissions.
Turn off lights more
This is pretty self-explanatory, and we’ve probably had this drilled into our heads over and over again. It is a pretty important point to stress however – you end up having to get more light bulb replacements when you leave light bulbs on for extended periods of time. It is a commonly held myth that turning lights on causes a power surge which uses up more electricity then just leaving the light on – which is complete bogus, seeing as how the surge uses only a fraction of the energy of turning it on for only 1/120 of a second. A final piece of advice is to switch to fluorescent lightbulbs if you have not already done so, for reasons explained in more detail here
A word of caution on turning lights off when leaving a room. When it is a good idea to do this will vary depending on the type of bulb you have and how long you’re going to be out. For regular bulbs, it is a good idea to just turn them on and off as many times as you need to. Their life span does not become shorter from it. But if you have fluorescents, you may want to consider only turning them off if you’ll be away for about 15 minutes. The reason is because unlike incandescents, fluorescent lightbulbs have a shorter lifespan after multiple turning off and on’s.
Turn off computers
Many people seem to have this refusal to turn off their computers even when they are not going to use them for extended periods of time. This is especially true when they are left on even when the owner goes to sleep or on vacation. First, the power surge myth seems to apply here as it did with lightbulbs. Do not listen to it. Again, it is total hogwash and it actually harms the computer more to leave it on for extended periods of time instead of turning it on again. It does not harm computer components or make it slower.
Perhaps turning off the computer over and over again when you feel you won’t use it for more than an hour may be a hassle. This can be easily solved by making a quick trip to your computer’s Control Panel and then finding the Power Options. Then set your computer to auto-sleep after a set amount of time passes by.
For others still, it may be that you need to keep your computer on during the day because of applications that need to display a notification to you, such as AIM. In this case, auto-sleep may become annoying since you would be logged off each time the computer offs itself. For these scenarios, it may be a better idea to instead set the computer to shut down every 2 hours or so. If you really aren’t using it for that long, you are probably asleep. If you would rather not bother starting up all the programs you have up all over again, then consider auto-hibernating it instead. This will turn it off while still keeping all the applications open.
If you can’t do any of this, at the very least set a screensaver to turn your screen completely black after about 10 minutes. The truth is that screensavers are actually obsolete tools from when CLF monitors would become ‘burned’ if they maintained the same image for too long. Almost every computer is now LCD, and this no longer applies. A screensaver that displays black will save more energy then one that displays a complicated one, or none at all. Flying toasters on your screen are not worth the small costs they will end up bringing.
Turn off as opposed to keeping on
I’ve mentioned this twice already, but it’s an annoying point that I’ve even encountered in my own family. Turning off and on an appliance after a period of time will never use more electricity then leaving it on the entire time. Unless your an alien. And not the South American kind. I’ve addressed this twice, but this urban legend seems to stick around for every major electrical appliance in households, and it simply has no logical basis to stand on anymore. The only exceptions this might apply for are things built before the 1990’s or so. And if you’re using something that old, your life probably already sucks anyways. Heck, I would wonder how you even access this site.
That should about wrap this session up. I’m hoping I managed to make this yet another informative blog post. I congratulate you if you didn’t get intimidated by the length and even read this far actually. Until next time, *explosion*