I’m an IT guy. I love my (Mac) computer. Most other IT people I know love their computers too, be they Mac, Windows or *nix based. Of course you would when you are typically working on them 8+ hours per day.
We take pride in our computers – how fast they are, the latest software/widget we installed, etc.
One boast I hear regularly, is how long it is since their last re-start. This can be a measure of just how stable the operating system is – if it hasn’t crashed or needed a re-start in weeks/months then it must be really stable! This is an way-of-thinking which needs to change, quickly.
The problem with this, of course, is that it means people are not shutting down their computers and are therefore needlessly consuming electricity (using more energy and emitting more CO2).
Power strip with switch
Modern browsers remember all the windows/tabs you have open when you quit them so there can be no reason for not shutting down your computer every evening.
Shutting down, mind you, not simply putting it to sleep.
And not just the computer either, the monitor (if you have an external one), the printer, external drive, etc. – all the peripherals.
Having all your devices plugged into a power strip with a switch allows the power to be cut to all of them in one easy go.
The badge of pride now should be how long it has been since you left the computer on overnight – obviously longer = better!
I participated in the recent IBM Global Eco Jam and there were some fantastic discussions there.
One of the discussions surprised me though – people were still talking about unplugging mobile phone chargers as if that was a significant problem. It is not. On the contrary, it is a dangerous distraction.
Watch the video above. Seriously, do. I’ll wait.
The mobile phone chargers I tested all consumed 0.1W or less of electricity when left plugged in and not charging a phone. That is minute.
Sure, I get that if you add up all the millions of mobile phone chargers across the country, all those millions of 0.1W adds up to a significant load. I get that. I do.
LED spot light
However, if you change one 50W halogen bulb for a 3.6W LED alternative that is the equivalent of unplugging over 460 mobile phone chargers. And that’s just from changing one bulb. How many bulbs do you have in your house? How many houses are there across the country containing how many bulbs?
Or forget light bulbs. What about the electricity draw of other devices in your house when they are plugged in but not operating (this is called standby power!)?
Mobile phone chargers, for some reason, seem to have been picked up by people as the bad boys when it comes to standby power. That is a dangerous fallacy. Why dangerous? People who are trying to do the right thing are ensuring that they unplug their mobile phone chargers, potentially unaware that their microwave/printer/games console is consuming orders of magnitude more power than the phone charger.
Switchable power strip
Don’t get me wrong, sure you shouldn’t leave your phone charger plugged in, but it is likely that there are far larger standby draws in your home or office you should be aware of. Educate yourself. Find out which of your devices draws the most power