Tips for Reducing Your Devices' Carbon Footprints

From composting initiatives, to cutting back on single-use plastics, to our annual celebration of Earth Week, the students of William & Mary have a reputation for sustainability. W&M Information Technology is working to reduce our carbon footprint and we wanted to share with you a few quick tips on how to do so yourself.

1. Check your computer's power settings

Desktops and laptops do not use an insignificant amount of energy. Conserving battery on your laptop or drawing less power to your desktop not only requires less electricity, but it also can save you money! Turn the brightness down on your display, make sure your computer goes to sleep or hibernates after a short period of inactivity, and if possible, put your device in energy efficiency mode. 

2. Unplug

When your device is fully charged, unplug it. Whether it's your laptop, tablet, or phone, unplug it as soon as it reaches 100%. You can even charge your devices during the day, so that they aren't needlessly plugged in while you sleep.

3. Screensavers save nothing

Screensavers may be fun to look at, but they also keep your device fully awake when inactive. Letting your computer drift off to sleep will save even a small amount of energy. 

4. Close programs when not in use

Running multiple programs simultaneously on your device will draw more power. If you're not using a program, close it to save power. Also be sure to check for apps that might be needlessly running in the background. If you are running Windows 8, for instance, your computer might use many apps in place of traditional software, and something like Skype might be open even if you're not expecting a call. 

5. File sharing

Students, did you know you have unlimited storage in G Suite? Faculty and staff also have 100GB of storage in Box (that's a lot). Take advantage of the file sharing features in these systems to cut down on your printing!

6. Use duplex printing

If you do need to print out readings or papers, try to make use of duplex printing. All Dell printers in campus computer labs permit duplex printing. 

7. Turn off your printer

If you have a personal printer, be sure to turn it off when not in use. 

8. Use "greener" tech when possible

When you're acquiring new technology, always do your homework on the device's performance and security features, but also be sure to consider its energy efficiency. You can use the Guide to Greener Electronics for a general sense of a company's efficiency reputation, but be sure also to search by device. Gizmodo and the Guardian Technology also periodically provide reliable reviews of new devices. 

9. Finally, just turn it off

If you're not using your laptop, desktop, tablet, or gaming console, just turn it off completely. There's no need to draw power unnecessarily.