12 Ways to Save Money while Going Green with Home Electronics

Part of the Green Gadgets For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Small steps can go far to reduce your energy use and make your home more ecofriendly. Try these 12 tips, which are not only good for the planet, they'll save you some money.

  • Replace single-use disposable batteries in your gadgets with rechargeable ones, and then dispose of the dead ones at a nearby grocery, hardware, office-supply store; or your municipal recycling center.

  • Turn down your TV's brightness and contrast settings to the lowest comfortable level.

  • Unplug the charger on your mobile phone, MP3 player, or other gadget after its battery is charged, or plug all chargers into a power strip so that you can instantly turn them off all at one time.

  • Disable your computer's screen saver and adjust its power-saving settings to turn off the display when you're not using it, as well as have it automatically switch to Standby or Hibernate mode after you're away for more than 15 minutes.

  • Turn off any energy-wasting features you aren't using on mobile phones, computers, and other gadgets, including wireless (WiFi) networking, Bluetooth, and GPS.

  • On portable gadgets with backlit screens, reduce brightness to the lowest comfortable level; and turn on autolock, screen dimming, and shutoff options if available.

  • Read and review documents on the screen rather than print them on paper.

  • If you must print, reduce your printer's quality setting to 200 dots per inch (dpi), print on both sides of the page, and refill inkjet and toner cartridges rather than buy new ones.

  • Reduce fuel consumption and auto emissions by shopping and banking online and by renting or buying downloadable and streaming movies and TV programs rather than rent DVDs at your local video store or kiosk, or by mail.

  • If your home's thermostat isn't programmable, buy one and set it to heat and cool only when you're at home.

  • When purchasing new gadgets, research the most energy-efficient models by visiting Mygreenelectronics.org or EnergyStar.gov.

  • Consider selling unwanted gadgets locally on Craigslist or trading them in for cash or credit toward a new product (Best Buy offers programs to recycle or trade in your old gadgets, as do other retailers).

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