Going green is fashionable, but how easy is it to do? Many small changes that you can make in your everyday life will add up to a big impact on the environment - and a positive impact on your bank balance.
Of course, the point of monitoring your energy intake is to help you waste less power. Here are some painless ways to cut back:
PC: A typical PC consumes 600kwh of electricity every year. Software can help you reduce that expenditure. Most programs, like Verdiem's Surveyor, automatically shift your computer to its lowest power settings when the machine isn't not in use.
Monitor: Energy Star recommends shutting your monitor down after five minutes of inactivity.
Conveniently, Energy Star provides a link on one of its pages to a Computer Management Savings Calculator, which includes a monitor component.
The site also offers drop-down lists of Energy Star-qualified monitors from various vendors on its Monitors page.
Finally, there's a downloadable PowerPoint presentation of the program's guidelines for qualifying monitors.
The web: Some authorities contend that the amount of energy a cathode-ray tube monitor uses depends on the colour it displays. According to the Department of Energy, for example, a white screen uses 74W of power, while a black screen uses only 59W. So you may be able to save power by using a black Google screen such as those offered by Google-Black, GreenerGLE, Earthle, and Darkoogle for your searches.
Similarly, you can display Word documents as coloured text on a black background. Or enable a starry night screensaver.
Use less paper: Even if 'print less' is not an option for you, you can reduce your paper use by 4.75 percent: simply by changing your margins (www.changethemargins.com). The standard Microsoft Word document sets the margins at 1in on the top and bottom of the page, and at 1.75in on each side. Reducing those margins to .75in each saves paper, money and trees.
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