No doubt about it, your computer’s energy consumption has a noticeable impact on your electricity bill. Of course, this also means more electricity has to be generated – for most of the USA, by burning coal.

Apple has a somewhat informative page about the energy consumption of its various products. See this here:

http://www.apple.com/environment/energyefficiency/

Apple has also posted a helpful energy usage calculator, to determine how much power its specific products draw:

http://www.apple.com/environment/resources/calculator.html

Macworld recommends eight excellent points about how to green your electronics. It’s definitely worth a read:

http://www.macworld.com/2007/05/secrets/june07workingmac/index.php

It’s difficult to expand on Macworld’s recommendations. However, I will reiterate that it’s a good idea to plug your electronics in to a surge protector, which you can then switch off to kill vampire power. I often go an extra step, and unplug the surge protector – the added benefit is that it’s impossible for a power surge to destroy unplugged electronics.

Also, I want to reiterate that LCDs draw far less power than CRTs – and may also contain fewer toxic chemicals, such as lead. Further, LCD televisions use far less power than Plasma televisions.

It’s a great idea to use rechargeable batteries in wireless keyboards, mice, digital cameras, remote controls. It’s nice the bluetooth Mighty Mouse only requires a single battery to operate. However, it’s even nicer if the single battery is rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-Ion) or nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable battery. Some battery chargers recharge a pair of AAs in as little as 20 minutes.

I use a Mac Pro at work, with a 23” monitor. I shut this beast down every night. For most users of desktop computers, I recommend the same. It’s not such a big deal if you use any flat-panel iMac or especially any Apple laptop, but these machines do draw a small amount of power when they are asleep. At Small Dog Electronics, we discovered that turning off our PowerMacs and Mac Pros is especially important in the summer, as they produce a fair amount of heat that then has to be air-conditioned away – making us pay for even more electricity. Many people here have switched to Intel iMacs, which draw far less power than the PowerMac G4 and G5s they replaced.

Recycling electronics is hugely important – and it is also important how your electronics are recycled. Our recent free ewaste drop-off day was huge – we collected over 45 tons of electronic junk. See photos by clicking here.

Finally, Small Dog Electronics is partly built on the belief that most people don’t always need to buy the absolute latest technology. Refurbished and used computers, iPods, and other electronics often get the job done as well as brand new models. Consider the fact that many top designers, architects, music producers, photographers, and film production companies (including Lucasfilm and Pixar) use gear that is 2 – 4 years old, and older. Many of these companies work on a 3-year product cycle. In many cases, so can you and I.

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