Green Computing With Your Mac!

April 14, 2011, By Christian Cawley

One of the great things about using a Mac is that your computer is designed to use as little power as possible. If you’re performing processor-intensive tasks such as video processing, the computer is designed to do this as efficiently as possible, which means using all available energy. However if your computer is idling, you can configure Mac OS X to alter its behaviour depending on certain circumstances.

While beneficial to your electricity bill, this is also useful to anyone using a MacBook notebook computer – after all it’s better to have your computer activating various power-saving functions than it is to sit with the battery slowly running down!

Green computing with your Mac

Configuring the Energy Saver Settings on Your Mac

You can use the Mac OS X Energy Saver settings to adjust your computer’s behaviour, such as instructing it to sleep after so many minutes of inactivity.

To do this, go to System Preferences > Hardware > Energy Saver and set the Computer Sleep slider to instruct your Mac to sleep after a certain period of inactivity. You will notice that you can also do this for the computer display, something that you should probably keep as low as possible in order to keep the display in good shape. Leaving your Mac’s display switched on over a long period of time can result in it deteriorating and eventually breaking.

You will also notice the Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible option, a useful power saving option, which is followed by the Allow power button to put the computer to sleep option, allowing you to avoid the boot process by saving your current state to the computer’s hard drive until you “wake” your Mac.

Note also that you can use the Schedule… button to instruct your Mac when to Start up or wake and when to Sleep, Restart or Shut Down. This can also be configured to run on specific days, weekends, or daily.

Screensavers and Display Maintenance

While using a schedule to decide when your computer should switch on or shut down is a good idea, you can also influence the amount of power used by your Mac by applying a screensaver to your desktop.

This might seem like nothing more than a pointless exercise in pretty animations, but the idea here is to protect the lifespan of your LCD display. If we consider the environmental cost of creating such a piece of hardware and the impact that trashing one has, then getting the most out of it should be a priority. Screensavers are included in operating systems to protect your computer from

Use the System Preferences >Personal > Desktop & Screensaver option to select a screensaver, which can be activated by selecting a time delay on the Start screen saver slider. This means that whenever you stop using your computer the screensaver will become active after the duration selected on the slider.

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