When enabled, power management places your monitor, hard drives and computer into a low-power “sleep” mode after a period of inactivity. A simple touch of the mouse or keyboard “wakes” the computer, hard drive and monitor in seconds. Power management features are standard in Windows and Macintosh operating systems.
The use of power management can reduce energy consumption and cooling costs, reduce noise, and prolong the battery life of laptop PCs. And when your PC consumes less power, you reduce your impact on the environment.
To improve the power efficiency of your PC, the Climate Savers Computing Initiative recommends the following power management settings:
- Monitor/display sleep: Turn off after 15 minutes or less
- Turn off hard drives/hard disk sleep: 15 minutes or less
- System standby/sleep: After 30 minutes or less
The following unusable electronics are considered e-waste:
- Televisions and Monitors
- Computers and Computer Peripherals
- Audio/Stereo Equipment
- VCRs, DVD players
- Video Cameras
- Telephones, Fax and Copying Machines
- Cellular Phones
- Wireless Devices
- Video Game Consoles
- Big Box stores like Best Buy and Staples will recycle various electronics. There is usually a bin or box near the counters to take these broken devices.
- Many computer manufacturers now have take back programs, and will take your old computer free of charge and dispose of it properly. Visit your computer manufacturer's website to find out how to send the computer in or visit EPA's list of Electronic Recyclers.
- Most cell phone manufacturers should take back your old phone as well. They can often just be dropped at your local cell retailer, or visit EPA's list of Electronic Recyclers.
- Review Utah Department of Environmental Quality's Electronics Recycling page to learn more about recycling in Utah. They have a good list of Local Electronic Recyclers.
- Locally, Recycle Utah in Park City, accepts many electronics for recycling, including TVs, computers, printers, scanners, fax machines, phones, microwaves and stereo and video equipment. Fees apply to all electronics ($5-$25). We pay to have electronics recycled by weight so items are priced accordingly. Collection bins are located inside our Warehouse.
- Use Computer and Monitor power management features - Using power management features can save nearly half a ton of CO2 and more than $60 a year in energy costs.
- Don’t Use A Screen Saver - Screen savers are not necessary on modern monitors and studies show they actually consume more energy than allowing the monitor to dim when it’s not in use.
- Buy Energy Efficient Computers - Make energy efficiency a priority while shopping for your PC and monitor. Look for the ENERGY STAR label..
- Turn Down Brightness Setting - On your monitor turn the brightness setting down enough so that you can still comfortably see and read. The brightest setting on a monitor consumes twice the power used by the dimmest setting.
- Turn Off Peripherals - There is no need to keep your peripherals such as printers, scanners and speakers on when not in use. Turn them off completely and make sure they are plugged into a power strip which is turned off when your computer is off.
- Reduce Phantom Loads - Fight phantom loads by plugging all your electronics into one power strip and turn the strip off when you are finished using your computer.
- Use A Laptop - Laptops typically consume less power than desktops, so it is much more energy efficient to have a laptop instead of a desktop computer.
- Turn It Off - Close unused applications and turn off your monitor when you’re not using it. Turn off your monitor if you aren't going to use your PC for more than 20 minutes. And turn off both the CPU and monitor if you're not going to use your PC for more than 2 hours.
- Use A Power Meter - A power meter can help you find out how much energy your computer actually consumes. Use a device like a Kill-A-Watt to monitor how much energy you are using. This information will help you be more conscious or your energy consumption. Kill-A-Watt meters are available at the Park City Library in the Energy Detective Kits.
- Establish Multiple Power Schemes - Multiple power schemes will help you address different usage models. For example, you can create a power scheme for playing music CDs that shuts off your hard drive and monitor immediately, but never puts your system into standby mode.
- Use Rechargable Batteries - Of the 15 billion batteries produced and sold each year, most of them are disposable alkaline batteries, and only a fraction of those are recycled. Look for electronics that are rechargeable. For removable batteries, lithium-ion (Li-Ion) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) are cost-effective, green alternatives. The fastest battery chargers can juice up AAs in as little as 15 minutes, and will pay for themselves quite quickly.
- Reduce Phantom Loads - A phantom load is a device that draws power or uses energy even though it isn't on, like a cell phone charger that is plugged into the wall but isn't charging a phone, or a TV that is on standby mode. To make sure you aren’t wasting energy, pull the plug on devices when not in use or put all of your electronics and chargers on a power strip. This way you can simply flip the power strip off when your electronics are not in use.
- Buy Energy Efficient Electronics - Some types of electronics use more energy than others do. When shopping for new electronics and computers make sure to find the most energy efficient model you can. Look for the ENERGY STAR label to ensure that it uses less energy than the current standard. For example, if you want a flat panel television, look into LCD models, which use much less energy than plasmas. The Energy Star site will help you identify energy-saving electronic devices like cordless phones, stereo systems, TVs, DVD players, battery chargers, and a whole bunch more.
- Care For Your Batteries - While battery recycling programs are increasingly common and easy to use, the process of recycling anything still takes energy and resources and should not be overused. Knowing how to best use and maintain rechargeable batteries will boost their longevity and performance. Read more about how to care for you batteries.
- Recycle Your Old Electronics - When you buy a new gadget or the old one breaks, don't just throw old the one into the trash. Make sure to properly dispose your old device either by selling it off, sending it to be recycled or to an organization who reuse old electronics. Read more about recycling your old computers and electronics above.
- Buy Used - You can find top quality, totally functional used electronics at sites like Ebay and Craigslist, KSL.com and even at yard sales and flea markets. This not only cuts down on the amount of new resources being used for the production of more stuff, it also creates a market for sellers to safely recirculate electronics they’re no longer using.
- Renewable Charge Your Devices - There are a number of devices now that can charge your electronics from solar power even wind and kinetic power. Why use the grid when you can economically charged your device from renewable energy.See here for more about solar powered chargers.
- Extend Your Devices Use - Even though it seems like there is a new high-tech device every week, try your best to limit changing frequently. Use your device as long as possible to extend it's life before you upgrade.
- Look for EPEAT - EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) is an attempt at environmental certification for computers (CPUs, monitors, and notebooks).
- Buy a less toxic system - Europe is making huge inroads on reducing the presence of toxic chemicals in electronics such as lead, cadmium, and mercury with a directive called RoHS (Restriction on Hazardous Substances). Even if you don't live in Europe this has a big impact, as any company looking to sell there has to follow the directive. Look for companies that are adhering to or going beyond the RoHS compliance in Europe and around the globe. Learn more from the RoHS EU Homepage and Wikipedia's RoHS page.
Rechargeable batteries may have a higher upfront cost, but they are a money-saving option. One analysis, which confirmed the long-term savings, found that buying new batteries costs much more than the electricity used to recharge a battery. Whether you’re a homeowner or running a business, go with the rechargeable option to save money and prevent hazardous materials in our community.