Editor’s Note: This story is by GreenerGadgets.org and was originally published as “Lessen The Environmental Impact of Your Electronics.”
Americans buy and use more electronic gadgets than ever — the typical household has 24! With this wave of TVs, computers, cellphones, and more, come both environmental challenges and solutions. You can take these steps to ensure you’re minimizing your environmental impact and maximizing technological advances with your gadgets.
Step 1. Measure. Measure your consumer electronics home energy usage with the GreenerGadgets.org energy use calculator. While consumer electronics account for just 12 percent of a home’s electricity usage, there are still a number of ways to reduce energy and save money. In fact, studies have found that the more you understand your consumption, the less energy you’re likely to use.
Step 2. Be efficient. Unplugging unused electronics and using new power strips are easy and effective ways to save electricity. Many devices (such as computers, mobile phones and videogame consoles) have power management settings that can help you save energy.
Step 3. Use technology to maximize your home’s energy efficiency. Use a smart home thermostat to more efficiently cool your home in the summer and warm it in the winter. This also saves money on your electricity bill. Smart thermostats learn your schedule and the ideal home/office temperature at different times of the day. Some models connect to your smart phone or tablet, allowing you to manage your thermostat even when you’re away from home.
Step 4. Look into new, more efficient technology. Consumer electronics are making impressive energy efficiency improvements. The amount of power needed for televisions fell 23 percent from 2010 to 2013. When purchasing electronics, look for the ENERGY STAR label, designating efficient models; and the EnergyGuide label, providing energy cost information for all models.
Step 5. Recycle responsibly. Recycle your old electronics at their end-of-life. Use the Consumer Electronic Association’s electronics recycling locator tool to find the recycler closest to you.