A lot of people these days have multiple gadgets. You could be reading emails on your laptop and all the while, your phone buzzes in with constant email alerts since you’ve already synced your account to the unit. You’ll also probably play a quick game on your tablet sometime within the day. Having multiple gadgets means having several devices that use electricity. That’s on top of the other appliances around your house that are already consuming energy like the lights, TV, the fridge, and AC.
Our growing use of electronic devices is one factor in our escalating demand for electricity. The Energy Information Agency is predicting that world net electricity generation will increase by 93% from 20.2 trillion kilowatthours in 2010 to 39.0 trillion kilowatthours in 2040.
In the U.S., most of the electricity generated comes from fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil. You can imagine how much impact all of that will have on the environment. For coal power plants in the U.S. alone, the average emission rate of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour (MWh) is 2,249 lbs., 13 lbs. of sulphur dioxide, and 6 lbs. of nitrogen oxides. Natural gas-fired power plants and nuclear power plants also add to the emissions caused by power generation.
So how can you help the environment and save money at the same time when you use your gadgets? Here are some tips:
Turn off Some Wireless Features
Smartphones these days are usually equipped with multiple communication technologies. Whenever you have these on, you’re draining your smartphone’s battery. You could turn off some of these features when you don’t need them. Bluetooth and GPS are some of the less used features of your phone so turn these on only if you need them.
Don’t Overcharge Your Laptops
Laptops have replaced desktops as the workhorse of many professionals. Many keep their laptops plugged in while they work but doing so will cut the battery’s ability to hold a charge. It also cuts its lifespan. If you intend to use your laptop while plugged to an outlet, you can take out its battery. This saves power and protects you from the cost of having to replace your battery.
Turn Down Your Screen’s Brightness
You can extend your mobile‘s battery life by decreasing the screen’s brightness. You can do this by going to your gadget’s settings screen.
Get a More Energy Efficient Appliance
If you’re upgrading your tech device, you could place energy efficiency as your top criteria when choosing your next device. LED and LCD monitors consume less power than CRT monitors and different LED and LCD monitors will have varying energy efficiency ratings so choose one with a higher energy efficiency rating.
Sell or Donate Your Old Gadget to Cut Down on E-Waste
Many just store their old phones in a drawer after they buy a new one. These are then forgotten and discarded after being discovered again, at some later point in the future. If there are no shops around to which you could sell your old phone, you could try online and post it on sites like Craigslist. Doing so helps you earn money and keeps your old phone away from the landfill, thereby adding to the mountain of e-waste generated yearly.
If your gadget is already beyond repair that you can’t even donate or give it away, dispose of it properly because it can leak heavy metals into landfills and these find their way into the water supply.
As we rely more and more on our tech devices for accomplishing daily tasks, the impact these have on the environment are only expected to get stronger. We can help minimize whatever negative impact these devices have on the environment by always turning them on energy-saving settings and disposing of them responsibly—with the hope, that however little we can do will, sooner or later, we’ll successfully improve the situation on a global scale.