Shade of green: Minty fresh
Items needed: A computer
Why this hack: Because it's free, easy, and tons of fun (ok, so two outta three ain't bad)
Heart of the hack: Did you know that 90% of desktop computers are not optimized for energy efficiency? If yours is the one-in-ten that is, then pat yourself on the back, and get back to darning your handknit socks by the flickering light of a candle. If you're like the rest of us, however, read on.
It's stupid-simple to utilize the power management settings on your machine, and according to Intel, it can save you over 400-kilowatt hours annually. Depending on what you're shelling out for electricity, that's a savings of about $40 - $80 each year. Goodness. Whatever will you do with all that money?
Once you've taken a few moments to imagine your vast wealth, head on down to the "start" menu and give 'er a click. From there, you'll want to click on "settings" and then "control panel."
Still with me? Good, 'cause this is where things get scintillating. It's now time to double click on "power management." Oh-la-la. Now, under where it says "power schemes," choose "always on" from the drop-down list. Below the "settings for always on power scheme" tab, look for two drop-down lists, labeled "turn off monitor" and "turn off hard disks," respectively.
From each list select the amount of time you want your computer to wait before entering energy savings mode. If you drive a Prius and air dry your laundry, set this for 2 minutes; if you're still sportin' a Camaro and a mullet, you'll want to choose something less ambitious. Try 15 minutes. That shouldn't freak you out too much.
Here's another hot tip. Did you know that, in addition to lookin' groovy and taking up way less desk space, the new LCD monitors are good for about 100 Kwh/year of electricity savings? Ok, so that's not gonna save the whales, but if you're needing a new monitor, it's a good excuse to upgrade.
Oh yeah: Some of you are on Macs. It's even easier (of course) to implement these settings. Just go to the Apple pull-down menu, select "system preferences" and then "energy saver." It's all in there. You're on a Mac; you can figure it out.
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