How freeing would it be to unplug your laptop from the grid…forever? Not just for a couple hours until your battery dwindles, but for good. While it takes a bit of work and forethought, it’s not impossible. Here’s how you can do it.
1. Get a Backup Battery
A backup battery is a must so that you’re sure to never be without power when you need it. This doesn’t have to be a second laptop battery – though that would work perfectly well and be a better option. A backup battery can also be a battery pack that will store power and recharge your existing laptop battery when you start to run low. One option is the Power Gorilla – this device stores power for your laptop while on the go, and hooks up with the Solar Gorilla for gathering a charge.
2. Charge Your Batteries with Solar
You’re going to need to get your power from somewhere, and the most abundant resource is the sun. Invest in a high quality solar charger – or better yet, invest in two so that you’re sure to have enough power at all times. Be sure to always have a charger in the sun and gathering up energy. Every hour of sunlight that goes by without the solar charger gathering it up is that much less power you’ll have when you need it.
These two steps – charging with off-grid power and having a backup power source – are the two biggest components of unplugging your laptop for good. The next steps involve doing things that will make what power you generate and store last as long as possible.
3. Choose an Energy Efficient Operating System
In order to spare your battery, you’ll want to upgrade to the most energy efficient operating systems. Turns out Windows 7 is touted to be more energy efficient, helping batteries last as much as 11% longer. Additionally, Snow Leopard makes Macs run more efficiently, cutting back energy use by about 10%.
4. Set Your Laptop for Energy Efficiency
There are a couple little tweaks you’ll want to make to ensure your laptop will stretch the battery power. They include shortening the amount of time your laptop runs before slipping into hibernation, shutting off the screen saver, and other little tricks. Greening your laptop settings will go a long way in helping you stay unplugged.
5. Surf the Web with Energy Efficient Browsers
It matters even what browser you use for surfing the web. A survey showed that some browsers are more energy efficient than others. If you’re using a PC and want to really spare your laptop battery life, consider using IE8 (yes, it may be a painful prospect, but consider it). If you’re set against it, Firefox is the next best option. If you’re on a Mac, Safari is probably one of your most energy efficient options.
6. Downloads that Save Energy
There are a few great programs you can download that help you keep your laptop running at its most energy efficient, such as SetPower. The various options include features such as setting when your computer slips into sleep mode, tracking your energy use so you can see when you aren’t being as efficient as you could be, and shutting down your computer at certain times. Utilizing programs like these that do some of the energy efficient thinking for you can help stretch your battery charge.
7. It’s the Little Habits that Help
The next thing is all the little steps that help out. For instance, dim your screen brightness as much as possible without straining your eyes. Turn your laptop completely off – rather than just shutting the lid – when you aren’t using it. Do all you can to keep your laptop cool, such as putting it on a stand or using a Thermapak, since overheating saps power. And of course, only use your laptop when you need it – get out and enjoy the “real” world rather than sit on the computer – now that will spare your battery charge!
Thinking of all the tiny ways you can spare whatever energy you can will all help you to go off-grid for good.
Source: excerpts from planet green
There are so many areas in our lives that could do with some ‘greening’. Saving electricity in small steps in conjunction with a shift to renewable energy such as solar is something that everyone should start doing. The great thing about most environmentally friendly habits is that they usually save money too! Water conservation systems, rain water tanks (JoJo Tanks) and solar water heating systems (solar geysers) are a popular and relatively easy way of going green. Water Rhapsody/Yes Solar (South Africa) have manufactured and sourced a unique suite of high quality water and solar systems that amortize within a few years (even quicker with Eskom renewable energy rebates!). Contact us for a free quote and let us help you get free water and free electricity!