Green Blogging

From the Courage Campaign
I thought I was doing a pretty good job of energy conservation.  I always turn off the lights when I leave the room, and I use those compact florescent bulbs to replace the inefficient incandescents when they burn out.  I’ve got a pretty good track record when it comes to turning off the TV.  I rarely get caught accidentally leaving the refrigerator door open.  And I’m very proud to say that my fan even has a thermostat.But this blogging business can really run up the electric bill!  I’ve got a power-intensive workstation.  My computer is nearly always on, because I hate waiting for it to boot up.  Recently, I got a second monitor — trust me, the benefits to having more than one monitor (especially if you’re a writer) are amazing, but I’m sucking down twice as much electricity!  I’ve got a speaker system with a 80 watt subwoofer.  Add a couple of external hard disks… yeah, I’m a bona fide energy hog.

What’s worse is that I’m apparently not alone.  A new study shows that when considering production, use, and disposal, annually computers put as much climate-change-causing CO2 into the atmosphere as airlines.  You read that right — computing worldwide hurts the atmosphere as much as the aviation industry.

Sounds like a huge crisis to me, and we as bloggers (and blog reading computer users) need to be on top of this. 

Google announced this week that they’re joining with heavyweight hardware and software manufacturers like Dell, Lenovo, Intel, and Microsoft to create the Climate Savers Computing Initiative.  They’ve set an ambitious goal of reducing computer power consumption by 50% by 2010.  We’ll all need to pitch in, and it’s really not that hard to tweak your system to make it more power efficient.

For one, if you still use a “screen saver,” you know, the kind that puts a fancy moving picture on your display after you haven’t used your computer in a while, turn that thing off!  It can actually waste power because your display should just turn off when not in use.  You can also set your computer to automatically go into “sleep” or “standby” mode after you’ve left it alone for, say, 15 or 20 minutes.  I’ve got mine set to a very wasteful 60 minutes before it goes into “sleep” and another 90 minutes before it goes into “hibernate” (which provides an even greater power savings than sleep mode).  I’m going to change those right now.

If you’re not sure how to set your computer to a more power-conscious mode, this great article from the NY Times explains just a few simple tweaks every computer user should make to cut down on energy use.