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Published October 19, 2007 12:28 PM

Save the Environment, Use Your Computer

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - Save the environment, use your computer. Here's how: the EPA estimates you can save up to $75 per year by activating the power management functions on your desktop computer.  Support.com offers tips to consumers to help them save both energy and money by reducing the power consumption of their computer. The company offers remote tech suport for consumers fighting frustrating computer problems at home.


Desktop or laptop, you can save energy by:

1. Turning your computer off completely when you know you will not be using it for more than several hours, such as overnight.

2. You can still save energy when your computer is not shut down completely by setting the power management functions on your computer to put both your monitor and computer (CPU, hard drive, etc.) into “sleep” mode after a certain amount of time of non-use, which saves energy when you are not actively using your computer.  Set your monitor to go into standby mode first, followed by your computer.

Remember, there are some things which will prevent your computer from going into sleep mode.  Use the following guidelines to make sure your computer is properly sleeping:

1.  Certain applications, such as some games and third party software, will run in the background and prevent your computer from going into sleep mode.  Be sure to close these down completely.

2. If you use a virtual private network (VPN), disconnect it when you’re not actively using it, since VPNs can prevent your computer from entering into sleep mode.

3. Some applications which continually scan can prevent your computer from going into standby mode.  Shut off Wi-Fi antennas and infrared ports when you are not using them to prevent this from happening.  Anti-virus software can be set to scan more periodically yet still be safe.

4. Some Web sites will not allow your computer to enter into sleep mode because of active advertisements and banners.  Close down all Web pages when you are not viewing them to allow your power management function to work properly.

5. If you have set a screensaver (like that fish tank) for your monitor, you may not realize that it is actually wasting energy by preventing your computer from going to sleep.  A blank screen is the best screensaver so let your computer go to sleep to save energy instead (it won’t sleep with the fishes).

6. Peripherals, which are plugged into your computer, can also prevent your computer from going into standby or “sleep” mode.  Unplug your peripherals when they are not charging or synchronizing.

Don’t limit your energy savings to just your monitor and computer.  Other things you can do to help save energy in your computing use include:

1. Increase your memory (RAM) to reduce disk usage, which can be a power draw.
2. If you have a desktop computer, upgrade to an LCD flat panel monitor instead of a CRT monitor, which can account for half the energy use of a desktop computer.  According to the EPA, the use of an ENERGY STAR qualified monitor can save up to 85% of the electricity used by a standard model.

3. Did you know that the power supplies for your peripherals (such as your mobile phone or iPod) still draw power even if the peripheral is not plugged in?  If you plug all your electronics into one surge protector, you can easily switch them all off when you leave the room or go to sleep.

4. Shut off that printer.  Printers also have a sleep mode that still consumes a significant amount of power.
5. Replace wireless mice and keyboards with wired mice.  Wired mice and wired keyboards use relatively little energy and they avoid unnecessary wasting of batteries.

Carbonfund.org, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects globally, estimates that the average American is responsible for 50,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year.  In fact, the United States , with four percent of the world’s population, is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, emitting almost 25% of global carbon dioxide each year.

“Reduce what you can; offset what you can’t.’ That’s our motto,” said Steve Offutt, chief operating officer at Carbonfund.org.  “support.com and Carbonfund.org are a perfect example of that motto: support.com provides the technical expertise to help people reduce and we can help them offset the rest.  We are pleased to be their partner in the fight against global climate change.” 

To learn more about offsetting your own carbon footprint, visit www.carbonfund.org.

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