Jan 21, 2011

Is Technology Killing Our Planet?

I love being a "crunchy" momma and I love being a techno geek, but can I be both at the same time?  I will let you in on one of my dirty little secrets: I have my computer on (being used or in hibernate mode) and plugged in almost 24-7.  I know it's terrible.  I know my little laptop must be causing a significant draw on my meter (though less than the fridge and dryer) not to mention increasing our monthly electricity bill.  My one saving grace is that we put our money where our mouth is and buy 100% Texas wind energy.  So just how terrible I am being with my computer?

According the US Dept of Energy my laptop draws about 50 Watts probably adding a few extra from phantom load when it's not in use.  To compare to some other "essential" household items: a 27" TV draws about 113 Watts and a clock radio comes in around 10 Watts. If you'd like to see where I'm getting these numbers and see more check out this article on estimating energy use: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/appliances/index.cfm/mytopic=10040

I figure that if my computer draws 50 Watts an hour it would use about 36000 Watts (36 kWatts) per month.  My last electric bill stated we used 556 kWatts in the month, so it was about 6.5% of our usage. I guess I'm not doing as much damage as I thought with my computer alone, but everything adds up and it was noticeable.  I pledge to do better about turning off and unplugging my computer when it's not in use and finding other ways to decrease power consumption.

What are you favorite ways to reduce energy consumption?

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