By unplugging mobile phone chargers and other transformers when not in use, you can reduce both energy consumption and the risk of fire. Photo: Getty images.2022-11-28
Tips for minimising energy consumption by computers
The basic settings installed in the University’s computers minimise energy consumption. However, there are still a few things you can do to reduce the amount of energy your computer uses.
When the University’s IT technicians install new computers, they do all they can to optimise the energy settings. This applies to both PC and Mac computers.
However, although our computers are energy-optimised during installation, there are a few things you personally can do and we have put together a few tips below. As there are many different models of computers, screens, etc., at the University, it’s difficult to write exact instructions for implementing some of these ideas in your specific equipment. If you need help, contact your local IT support.
Adjust power and sleep settings
You can reduce electricity consumption to some extent by adjusting the power and sleep settings in a laptop computer. On a PC, you can find the power and sleep settings via the battery icon in the taskbar at the bottom of your screen. Click on the battery icon and slide the control all the way to the left for best battery life, as opposed to best performance. If you have a Mac, you can find a description of the equivalent setting here.
Unplug chargers when not in use
You should not leave your mobile phone charger plugged into the wall socket if you are not charging the phone. The same thing applies to other similar chargers or transformers for equipment other than phones, such as charging cables for laptops.
Transformers that are plugged in but are not in use, such as a mobile phone charger plugged into the wall but not currently charging a phone, always use a little electricity. This applies to all types of transformers.
A transformer that is plugged in but not in use normally uses very little electricity, but we are surrounded by transformers – chargers for various types of equipment, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops.
Although unplugging a single charger will not make a noticeable difference to the electricity bill, because there are so many transformers we can save a lot of electricity between us if transformers are only plugged in when in use.
In addition, plugged in transformers always entail some risk of fire if the equipment is damaged or worn. The potential fire hazard is also the reason you should avoid leaving your mobile phone charging unsupervised.
Several of the pieces of advice below derive from the reasons for not leaving transformers plugged in unnecessarily.
Shut down your computer overnight
It’s best to shut down your computer at the end of the day’s work. If you just close the lid, the computer will enter sleep mode and will continue to use electricity, even if not very much.
In the past, updates were sometimes rolled out at night, but this is no longer the case so you can turn off your computer.
Turn your screen off overnight
If the external screen has an on-off switch, it’s a good idea to turn it off when you finish work for the day.
Adjust the brightness of the screen
Don’t set the brightness of the screen higher than you actually need. This applies to both laptop screens and external screens.
Turn off screens you are not using
If you attach your laptop to an external screen and are not using the computer screen, then of course it’s a good idea to turn off the computer screen.
Turn off computer docking stations
Many members of staff have some type of computer docking station, in other words, a box between the computer and the screen with a load of cables going into the box (screen, power, mouse, keyboard, etc.) and a single cable coming out that you plug into your computer, or else you place the computer in the docking station.
The docking station may have an on-off switch that you can turn to off when it is not in use. Otherwise the docking station enters sleep mode when it is not being used.
Reduce image resolution in digital meetings
Video streaming accounts for approximately three per cent of the world’s energy use. Video streaming of course includes the use of various streaming services and social media with videos, but also video in digital meetings.
Naturally, it may be important for participants in the meeting to see each other in real time. This may enable a virtual meeting to replace physical travel to and from meetings, which of course saves a lot of resources.
There’s one thing everyone can do right away, without turning off the video in digital meetings. Studies show this can save about 85 per cent of the energy consumed in electronic meetings. What you need to do is to reduce the resolution in Zoom, which you do by turning off the HD function of the camera in Zoom.
To turn off HD video in Zoom, follow the steps below:
- Go to a Zoom meeting
- Click on the arrow by the video icon in the footer
- Select “Video settings”
- Unclick HD under “Camera”
- You’re done!
At meetings where it is not important for participants to see each other, you can save even more electricity by turning off the video completely. However, the major saving is made by reducing the resolution.
Delete private photos from your work computer
Around the University, there are a whole lot of private photos stored on employees’ work computers.
Needless to say, private pictures should not be saved in public authorities’ systems for various reasons, but on top of this they involve an electricity cost for the University. Therefore, please tidy up your work computer and transfer your private pictures to other storage.
Can I do anything to save electricity in conference equipment?
No, except for turning off equipment via the control panel, if there is one. Even if you do not do this, the equipment will enter sleep mode quite soon after you have detached your computer.
If we turned off the electricity supply to the conference equipment, it would take a while to restart it for the next meeting. As it is already complicated enough getting all the equipment to function for teaching sessions and meetings, the conference equipment has instead been set up so that it enters sleep mode quickly once the computer has been detached.
Members of staff who have some kind of computer server that they manage themselves are recommended to contact University IT Services to discuss solutions for transferring to a virtual server. There are security, fire safety and energy reasons for this.
Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms
Apart from the above tips, which mainly have to do with computers but also mobile phones, we would like to remind you to turn off the lights in rooms that are not being used. Many people all over the University forget to turn off lights in rooms that are not in use. Campus security staff then have to go round turning the lights off after us in the evening.