Lessen The Environmental Impact of Your Electronics

1. Measure. Measure your usage with our handy energy use calculator. While consumer electronics typically account for just 12 to 15 percent of a home’s energy use, there are a number of ways to save money and reduce energy demand. In fact, studies have found that the more you understand your consumption, the less energy you’re likely to consume. And that starts with measuring your current usage. Home energy management devices can also reduce energy consumption significantly, so be sure to check with your local utility.

2. Be efficient. Did you know that your devices are using power – even if you’re not using them? Unplugging idle chargers/devices and using new power strips are an easy and effective way to save power. Most advanced devices (like mobile phones or video game consoles) have energy efficient settings that can help you save even more, and if you’re not using it? Simply turn it off – just like you would with a light switch. Opt for electronics that are geared toward saving energy, like “smart” thermostats. These handy devices have the power to learn your schedule and the ideal corresponding home/office temperature at different times of the day. Some models even have the capability of connecting to your smart phone or tablet, making it easier to manage even when you’re away.

3. Look into new, more efficient technology. Did you know the energy efficiency gains with electronics being made are staggering? The amount of power needed for LCD televisions, for example, fell 63 percent from 2003 to 2010, and declined 41 percent for plasma TVs from 2008 to 2010. Look for the ENERGY STAR label and ask about new labels for TVs with detailed energy use information.

4. Consider convergence. Years ago, you probably owned a cell phone, personal digital assistant (or PDA), digital camera and camcorder, whereas today we just have a smartphone serving all those functions (and more). Smaller, more efficient and very powerful devices consume less power and require far less resources to manufacture, ship and recycle. So consider an all-in-one printer, smartphone or other new devices instead of multiple, older devices.