Going Green with Technology
The benefits of “going green” have been proven and within recent years highly implemented. From my parents throwing all their banana peels in a compost pile to heightened recycling on campus, environment-friendly behavior is encouraged. However, how has this lifestyle influenced technology and the way we use it?
There are many simple ways to reduce energy waste with technology. I have friends who turn off their computers every night and friends who haven’t turned off their computer since 2009 but the U.S Department of Energy has some recommendations. There is a required “small surge in energy when a computer starts up, but this small amount of energy is still less than the energy used when a computer is running for long periods of time.” They recommend turning the computer off for extending periods of time, especially if there is a quick shut down and restart time. Confirming that there is a sleep mode feature for your CPU and monitor is also beneficial. The most effective sleep modes can reduce power consumption to 8 Watts, “which is less than 10% of its operating power consumption.” The U.S Department of Energy also sends a warning about screen savers, which I am sure my parents will not believe me about, but screen savers may use more energy than not using one. Overall, they are not recommended.
Other small tips for saving energy include unplugging cell phone charger when it is not in use, keep your monitor, printers, and other accessories on a power strip, use energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, turn your refrigerator down, and weatherize your home. All of these quick and easy tasks are beneficial and important but it is also important to be aware of the most current and sometimes bizarre advances in energy efficient technology.
For example, Logitech has a developed a Solar Keyboard. Outdoor and indoor light powers the keyboard and it is only 1/3 of an inch thick! A solar-powered mouse has also been developed but not currently available. My favorite new design is the Sun Table. This 31’’x 54’’ table soaks up sunlight and stores it as energy. The table then can work as a regular wall outlet to charge laptops, cell phones, lights, radios, and more. Unfortunately the table runs around $2,200 which is slightly out of my price range. A final product is the “Self-Energy-Converting Sunglasses,” that use solar panels built into the glasses and can charge phones or MP3 players. While they are ridiculous looking, the creativity and intelligence they show is exciting.
As technology continues to play an increasingly large role in our lives it is important to use equipment responsibly. Being environmentally friendly can happen in our daily lives and in a more dynamic way. Flip through the page below to see the 15 Hot Solar-Powered Gadgets and if you are curious the U.S Department of Energy always has extra tips. Welcome back to the semester and enjoy the blog! Do not forget to take the quiz on black board.
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