Power Management

  • Make sure you're on energy-saving settings. Set your screen to go into sleep mode after five minutes of inactivity and your computer to go to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity. Visit this site for instructions from Energy Star on how to enact these settings for various operating systems.
  • Don't use screen savers. Screen savers were originally used to prevent monitor-damaging phosphor burn; however, today's monitors are not susceptible to such damage. Screen savers don't save energy and actually can use twice the energy of a computer screen in normal use.
  • Reduce the brightness setting on your screen. The brightest setting on a monitor consumes twice the power used by the dimmest setting.
  • Only turn on your computer when you are actually using it. Kick the habit of turning on your computer when you're in your room, whether or not you're actually using it.
  • Shut down, don't go to sleep. Although sleep settings reduce power use, when you won't be using your computer for a few hours it is best to completely shut down. 
  • Unplug peripherals such as printers, chargers, and speakers when not in use. Ensure that these potential energy thieves don't draw "phantom load." See more information about energy loads of appliances in this document [pdf] .

Laptop Batteries

  • Keep it cool. One of the most important ways you can extent your battery's lifetime is to not let it overheat. Here's how:
    • Use a cooling pad when using your laptop on your lap. A cooling pad sits under your laptop and allows for more airflow, usually with a motorized fan. 
    • Avoid putting your laptop on a soft surface. Your computer's fan cannot function properly when it is on a soft surface, such as a pillow or a blanket. 
    • Keep your desk clean. A messy desk can lead to dust in your computer's vents, which clogs the cooling fan. 
    • Don't store your laptop above 80 degrees.
  • Do not fully discharge your battery every time. Unlike nickel-metal hydride batteries, lithium ion batteries (the kind used in most laptops today) do better when they are not fully discharged each cycle. Instead, it is better to only discharge partially before recharging. A full discharge is only needed about every 30 charges. 


  • Read and annotate PDFs on your computer rather than printing them out. If you want to digitally annotate or highlight a PDF, use Adobe Acrobat Professional (installed on all lab and college-owned computers' Acrobat Pro is a more complete version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program). In Word, use Track Changes to make edits and comments on a paper. 
  • Use less paper when you print:
    • Print double-sided. To change print settings on campus printers, click on the "Properties" button on PCs or switch to the "Layout" menu on Macs. ITS charges the same per page, no matter how many sides you print on.
    • Print on scrap paper (one-sided documents) whenever you don't need a professional or final copy. Duplicating charges half-price if you bring in one-sided documents for reuse when making copies or flyers!
    • Reduce font size.
    • Reduce paragraph spacing. Try 1.5-spaced instead of double-spaced.
    • Reduce document margins. This increases the amount of text that can fit on a page and reduces pages needed to print a document. The setting is often found in Word under File > Page Setup or under Format > Document.
    • Print two or more pages to a sheet of paper. When printing pdfs or other documents, try printing two or more pages to each side of paper - with two pages per sheet and double-sided, that's using 1/4 of the paper!
  • Go paperless in class. Talk to your professors about using Sakai to turn in assignments, with comments and feedback provided using the Microsoft Word Reviewing/Track Changes tool.
  • Share printed-out readings with classmates. Sharing is caring!
  • Use ITS printers instead of buying your own. Maximizing use of Pomona's networked printers saves you money, reduces energy costs, and reduces packaging, transportation costs, and waste.
  • Opt for paper with high recycled content and sustainability certifications. Buying post-consumer recycled paper truly closes the loop by reusing paper recycled by consumers (as opposed to pre-consumer content, which is basically mill scraps from the factory). Processed chlorine-free (PCF) means no hazardous chemicals used to bleach the paper (and then released into the environment). Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification verifies that the paper products and trees were produced in a sustainable manner.
  • Refill ink cartridges or purchase remanufactured. This will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste, and toxic pollution, but can cost 20-60% less than purchasing a new cartridge!
  • Consider using vegetable-based inks. Vegetable-based inks substitute vegetable oils for petroleum. This significantly reduces the amount of harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released during printer. See www.soyprint.net for some options.

Plugging computing equipment into a power strip and turning off the strip when you leave your room can save significant energy.

Did you know: ITS charges per page printed, not per side - printing double-sided cuts your costs in half! Duplicating Services charges only $0.02 per printed side (instead of the standards $0.04) if you use paper that's already been printed on one side. Duplicating takes donations of paper that has been printed on one side and is in good condition (no staples or folds) to support this program.

Did you know: 1 ream (500 sheets) of paper uses 6% of a tree. 42% of the global industrial wood harvest is used to make paper.

Electronic Wastes

When your laptop/printer/keyboard/monitor/etc. breaks, make sure you dispose of it correctly! ALL electronic wastes should be disposed of at the Smith Campus Center Recycling Center (in the mailroom area) or in the appropriate waste dumpsters in the parking lot behind Mudd-Blaisdell. NEVER place these wastes in a landfill, where precious metals and toxic materials can leach into the water and soil systems.