How to Choose and Use Energy-Efficient Office Equipment.
Homework is available for the research-prone. Before purchasing office equipment, make sure the equipment you are looking at is EnergyStar® compliant. A great deal of time and effort by many brilliant minds has gone into making office equipment more energy-efficient over the years, it would be a shame to waste it! EnergyStar® rated office equipment goes into a low power ("sleep") mode after lying idle for a certain number of minutes, which can lead to drastic energy savings.
You can research many EnergyStar® ratings for office equipment at the EnergyStar® (U.S. Department of Energy / Environmental Protection Agency) web site.
Always-On: Feature or Flaw? The same old laws of physics apply to office equipment like computers, computer monitors, printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. In particular: turn them all the way off when not using them. For example: isn't it nice when you hit the "start" key on a copy machine and a copy spits right out? But like all other "instant on" devices, copiers stay "warm" by burning juice -- to save money, turn them on only when you are ready to make a copy.
Maybe the biggest misconception about office energy use is that computers and monitors in "sleep" and "screensaver" mode aren't using ANY electricity. If you can hit a key and the thing lights up, that means it's in "warm" mode and is still consuming plenty of electricity. Turn off computers and monitors (monitors usually have that convenient "off" button right in front of your nose) overnight or even for long lunches.
The obvious exception to this rule would be computers on networks and fax machines which have to be on to be accessed remotely at all times with or without an operator present.
Power bricks (AC-DC converters) are always on. Looking around the energyhawk.com office recently we counted at least a half-dozen different kinds of "power bricks," those big chunky electric plugs that convert alternating current to direct current for certain devices such as external disk drives, external computer speakers, scanners, modems, network hubs, etc. Got one of those? Touch it some time -- while plugged in it's warm, meaning it burns electricity even when the device it powers is turned off.
Our solution? In our office all these power bricks are plugged into power strips (essentially, extension cords with multiple outlets and surge protectors) that have on/off switches. Hitting the "off" switch at the end of the day takes care of the power bricks.