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March 23, 2009

Every night + Whenever not in Use, Turn off your Wireless Internet. For our Environment and your Health’s sake.

Want more money? Who doesn’t. Want to help save our planet? Say yes:

Any time you have a piece of electronic equipment that is plugged in but in standby mode, it’s leaking lots of power, wasting energy, and running up your electric bill. And it’s not a paltry amount: the EPA estimates that 75% of energy used in the home comes from appliances that are thought to be turned off but are merely in standby mode.

“Saving the Planet” is like trying to diet after binging. Let’s take it one thing at a time, every day.

Would you sleep with your head near a microwave? A TV? No?

Here’s why to turn off your wifi, every night.

A couple years ago, a gentleman by the name of Paige Jacques wrote an article for elephant journal, then a magazine, about how to reduce indoor air pollution. In six plus years of publishing a magazine, it’s one of the ones that’s stuck with me, altering my daily behavior in various ways. One thing I do because of him—and something that almost no one else does, even environmentally-aware folks—is turn off their wireless whenever not in use.

Most homes have wireless internet, these days. If you live in NYC, or any city, you’ll have literally 20 or so individual wireless networks in range of your computer. In Boulder, on the University Hill where I live, there’s “only” five or six at any given time. Update: 10 years later, there’s about 15.

indoor air pollution

If you’d like to save electricity—which is energy, which is a precious resource at the root of many of our wars on each other and on nature—and if you’d like to protect your health, which to some minute degree is probably effected by electro magnetic waves, you can put your wireless router etc on a power strip. Many of you already have. Then when leaving your computer, going for a walk, or most importatly going to bed for a good eight hour stretch, you just turn it off with the flick of a single switch. You’re also doing your neighborhood a small favor, by reducing the overall electronic pollution.

Then, when you want to get online again, all you have to do is switch it one. The lights will flash, and by the time you’re sitting at your computer your wireless network will be active again, full speed.

As to health concerns, wireless appears to be much less a threat that cell phones, which are continuously transmitting full strength (don’t sleep within say six feet by yours if it’s on, I remember Paige told me—I turn mine off every night, in any case) and microwaves. I found this helpful article online by Paige Jacques, and hopefully soon we’ll get our article live on this site again.

Oh, wait, here it is. Brilliant article. Read it and, if so inspired, change your behavior for the better—for our environment and your health’s sake—that’s what this green stuff is all about!

PS: Via CasaSugar, excerpt on the eco half of the equation:

Basically, any time you have a piece of electronic equipment that is plugged in but in standby mode, it’s leaking lots of power, wasting energy, and running up your electric bill. And according to Treehugger, it’s not a paltry amount: The EPA estimates that 75 percent of energy used in the average home comes from appliances that are thought to be turned off but are merely in standby mode.

Similarly, phantom loads are also created when chargers for cell phones and other electronics are plugged in with nothing attached to them.

To solve the problem, plug your chargers and standby electronics into power strips, and when you’re not using the devices, turn the power strips off.

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