I have a slight Jeremy Clarkson perspective when it comes to the environment, especially when global warming is mentioned. I still believe climate change as we know it, is part of a nature-spurred cycle which the Earth goes through every once in a while. But let's leave the bureaucratic crap for another time.
But how easy is it to go green in the items, appliances and computers we use? Not so easy from the looks of it.
As many use laptops and notebooks, it's generally considered to be more efficient to leave the laptop plugged in as much as possible. This is so it can bypass the battery, as many laptops can survive without a battery whilst connected to the mains, so it doesn't drain the battery with it then needing to be recharged.
Many wouldn't think twice about plugging in their cellphone or mobile device into the mains to re-juice up the battery, but in reality it's wasting vital resources. My phone has a battery life of around 5 days but with the always-on 3G connection, it realistically only lasts around 2 and a half. With this, I leave it on overnight because it's just simpler.
But environmental lobbyists and long-haired hippies are concerned about the planet and the icecaps in the Antarctic. The more energy we use, the hotter the planet gets, the icecaps melt and the sea rises. Think of the cute little penguins! For those, I recommend you read about the Archimede's principle because that'll explain the basic laws of buoyancy.
Turn down your thermostats or Birmingham floods. Shame, really... (there is a little more to it than that; the freshwater/saltwater mix, but again, for another time.)
Costs of electricity are important too to the students. The typical student starts getting dark thoughts towards the end of the month when it gets to bill paying, because it's difficult to not think about compensation pay-outs for fake insurance claims when you can't rub two cents together.
Desktop computers usually take up a fair bit more power than laptops and notebooks because of the hardware involved. If you've got a system so beefed up, it can blow your makeup off when you first turn it on, it's you we can blame for rising costs of energy bills.
My computer has a 600W power pack and I can almost guarantee it's all used to power the super system that I have; dual-core graphics card, two sticks of 2GB memory, massive hard drive and more USB devices and hubs than you can count on your hand.
Having a notebook or a netbook will save you money in the long run, especially with hibernation and sleep modes in many of the operating systems. For many with desktop computers like myself, I can't be arsed to turn off my computer every night; I am a media junkie, however, and do like listening to a podcast as I sleep.
So how am I reducing my carbon footprint? Well, I'm certainly downsizing my carbon shoes, but then again, I do have size 12 UK feet (pun intended).
I plug my phone in when it gets to 10% battery life. I've permanently set my laptop to 70% brightness on the screen to make sure it lasts longer and I leave my laptop plugged in whenever I can to save on the battery recharging. I listen to a podcast as I sleep on my phone instead at night (when plugged in) and turn my computer off, and both my computers run on Power Saver mode which saves on power in the long run.
Will there be a big difference to my bill at the end of the month? No, because my rent includes the bills, so I couldn't care less anyway.