Making Your Computer Eco-Friendly

With 5 simple steps, you can make your computer more friendly to the environment and lessen your carbon footprint:

1) The obvious action, turn off your computer. Turning off your computer can save a huge amount of electricity year-to-year and will remove approximately 2,161 pounds of CO2 in one year. Letting your computer run continuously is the same as using 100 to 500 trees to offset the extra CO2 produced. There has been a long-standing myth that leaving on your computer is a better alternative to turning it off and turning it back on again. Computers are designed to handle more on and off cycles than we probably would use during the whole life of the machine and the energy surge used to boot up the computer is equal to your computer being left on for 3 minutes. If you decide you do not want to turn off your computer, trying placing it on sleep mode.

2) Recycle your old computer as computers are the biggest contributor to e-waste and has become a major disposal issue due to it’s components, such as lead, that make it environmental toxic. There are many programs you can check out that will help you recycle your e-waste.

3) Don’t use your screen saver. Many of us have been trained to use screen savers from back in the day, but most new monitors are LCD which used with a screen saver can potentially reduce the lifespan of the monitor. Also, using the screen saver keeps your screen active and uses more energy than allowing it to go blank or shut down. Sometimes using the screen saver won’t allow your computer to enter safe mode.

4) Conserve on printing. There is no need to print out 5 pages of Mapquest instructions when you can easily jot down the directions on a post it note. Make sure you fully proofread your documents before printing and use ink refill kits instead of new cartridges for your printer.

5) Buy a Greener computer. Dell and Apple are making efforts to make computer systems that are more environmentally friendly. Look for a system with a EnergyStar rating (given out by the U.S. government) that needs to meet performance standards in energy use.


29 Responses to “Making Your Computer Eco-Friendly”

  1. Hi sjsuarez

    There are quite a few different shades of “green” in computers and electronics.

    Power savings is the smallest impact of the computer. 80% of the life-time energy consumption of a computer is already used when you buy it. Extending the life of a computer by 1 year, slowing down the replacement cycle, saves already 20%. I do agree, it is important to turn your computer off when not in use. Ideally, have it on power strip with switch where you can turn it off completely, not even standby.

    Many computers available now, including from the companies mentioned in your article, come in lead-free and some “more” toxic brominated flame retardants, which have been widely eliminated for quite a while.

    Currently in use still are:
    - Tetrabromobisphenol-A. An unregulated, brominated flame retardant, used on electronics. They can be already eliminated, but our computers are to my knowledge the only ones in the U.S. that eliminate over 95% of that substance, which has been linked to prostate cancer and other illnesses.
    - Toxic and carcinogenic substances used during the manufacturing process of electronics. They usually end up somewhere in the environment during manufacturing, but also stay on as residue on the equipment when you work with it. And they gas out over time.

    More info in my blog at http://blog.greenmachineshop.com

    Best regards
    Thomas Schramm
    GreenMachineShop.com

    PS: If anybody is interested, we have a Free E-Class “Secrets to Healthier and Greener Computing”, signup here: http://www.greenmachineshop.com/eclass

  2. Thank you for adding this information. You have some great information on your site, especially the article titled: Zero Carbon Initiative by Computer Maker.

    Susan

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