While it may seem somewhat counterproductive, it’s perfectly possible to go green with your laptop without blowing your budget! With a few simple adjustments and steps, you can turn your energy-hungry machine into a more efficient and environmentally friendly one. Do laptops have to stay plugged or unplugged while in use? What’s the best way to save more energy? Let’s find out and discover the importance of taking care of batteries.
Running Laptops on Mains or Using the Battery
A common question is whether it’s better to leave laptops running on battery power or keep them plugged in, as people ask how they can act sustainably and save energy and money. Well, when it comes to energy consumption, the difference between leaving a device plugged in or using its battery seems to be insignificant.
A few years ago, it was still advisable to unplug portable computers or other devices from the mains for fear that the continuous consumption of electricity would overcharge the batteries. However, that’s not really the case today!
Today, several sources show that modern equipment is designed to stop charging once the battery is full and only resume charging when the battery discharges in use. This way, you can be sure that if you leave your laptop connected at all times, you won’t waste any more energy.
Leaving Laptops Plugged in or Unplugged: A Battery Issue
However, this remains an intriguing question to analyze for battery life and durability. Because as batteries lose their energy storage capacity and we leave our old laptops and other devices behind to buy new ones, the environment is being damaged. The batteries in these gadgets are primarily made from lithium-ion batteries that use minerals from the Earth that must be extracted by the polluting mining industry.
The first thing we need to know if we want to preserve our laptops and the environment is that we need to protect our equipment and extend its life. When we look at the carbon footprint of our use of IT tools, we quickly realize that it is the manufacturing stage of equipment that has the most significant impact on the planet. That makes sense if you think about it because to manufacture a laptop, battery, display, and the rest of the electronics, you have to extract resources, transport them, assemble them, transport them again, package them, and so on. Of course, the power consumption of your laptop is also essential, but it is not necessarily the most decisive factor.
According to several experts (such as Green It or Battery Academy), there is one method to extend the life of batteries when charging them: avoid extreme cycles. This means you don’t have to wait for the last percentage of battery life to charge your phone!
So, How Can We Optimize Battery Life?
A study by Battery University indicates that a 70% charged battery will have 1,200 to 2,000 discharge cycles, while a fully charged battery will have only 300 to 500 discharge cycles. This way, ideally, you should avoid over-discharging your battery (and keep it above 20-30%), but you should also prevent it from reaching 100% charge. It is therefore desirable that batteries should always be charged between 40 and 80% charge.
That means charging laptops up to 80%, running their batteries up to 40%, then recharging them, and so on. A bit tedious, then. That’s why, when using a frequently plugged-in computer, it’s recommended that you set a maximum charge of 80% to prevent the battery from always being full.
In the end, leaving laptops plugged in does not pose a problem in terms of power consumption. However, this could damage the battery. So the second-best thing to do is to keep your rabbit with a 40-80% charge. The first is to prevent your laptop’s battery from being completely discharged. These wise practices will prolong your battery’s life – in some cases up to four times.