Archive for the 'Beaconfire Survey' Category

Beaconfire Survey: Green Computing

, Tuesday, March 11th, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Editor’s  note: Each week, we do a survey of Beaconfire staff to get impressions on a variety of non-profit technology issues. All opinions expressed here are solely those of their authors. This post was supposed to be for last week, but was delayed due to SxSW – please accept our apologies. This Last week, we asked the Beaconfire staff: How do you tech green?

Michael, Principal Consultant: I tech green by unplugging unused devices, buying highest efficiency models I can, and never computing on the weekends.

Kristin, Project Manager: Little things include:

  • Manually start my backup right when I leave for the night, and have my computer shut down once the backup is done (rather than leave my computer on all night).
  • Try and turn off as many of the blinky lights as possible when I’m not using them (monitor, etc)
  • And, of course, try to turn off lights in unused offices and conference rooms

Mark, Functional Consultant: My biggest move towards going green (in general) is I moved into the city into an old house and take mass transportation to and from work everyday. By doing so, I’ve offset parts of my tech carbon footprint, including leaving my home computer on most of the time in case I need to remote in to it. Though I do set the home machines to sleep after inactivity and have moved to an LCD monitor.

David, Software Engineer: I have a ‘Watt’s Up power meter device. I have audited every appliance and electronic decide in my house for idle and peak power usage, shop at My Organic Market which purchases 100% wind power energy for it’s store, wait to order from Amazon and other retailers until I have 4+ items to ship, In addition:

  • All my light bulbs are compact florescent and light to energy usage appropriate.
  • Motion sensor front walkway light
  • Water heater turned down
  • Energy efficient windows,doors, washer dryer, fridge, Hot water heater
  • Luckily had radiant hot water heating, which is superior energy usage to forced air.
  • Luckily an east facing home with large windows
  • Checked insulation in roofing and walls for air exchange.
  • 7-day programmable thermostat for energy use only with people in the home.
  • Cleaned furnace and A/C unit yearly for optimum efficiency
  • Insulated A/C ducts to prevent cooling loss.

The net result is very small water and power usage. I’ve been researching solar panels for a while now and have a price point I’m waiting for.

Kate, Administrative Assistant: Well, frankly, I don’t do as much as I should. I do tend to think in terms of what’s going to keep the electric bill down, though, which helps a bit. This mostly includes keeping monitors off and making sure that the computer’s in ‘sleep’ mode when not in use.

John Brian, Marketing Consultant: This question actually came up as a result of an article about how a Second Life person uses as much energy as a resident of Brazil. For me, it’s mostly turning my computer when I can, though that can be tricky when you schedule defrags, downloads and updates to run while you’re sleeping or out. I also try to avoid leaving my peripherals plugged in except when needed – it’s not only good for the environment to not leave your cell phone charging all day, but it’s also often good for your battery’s lifespan.

At the office, we recycle paper, glass, and plastic, keep the thermostat turned down (or up) during non-work hours, encourage working from home, and use motion-sensor lights in conference rooms that people otherwise forget about. Most of us also have our monitors go to sleep when not in use, and when construction forced us to use the restrooms on the floor below, we lobbied to have the stairway unlocked so we didn’t need to take the elevator.

What about you, readers: how do you tech green at home or at work? Is there something Beaconfire should think about doing to be greener?