Our Enviromental Part

These days, thanks in large part to Al Gore, environmental consciousness has reached new heights. PC manufacturers and consumers are no exception. Here are some tips on buying a green PC that will still fit your needs:

Energy Star and EPEAT

Computers that bear the Energy Star badge must meet certain consumptive requirements when in standby, active and sleep modes. This ensures energy savings in every mode the computer is in. Power management is the key to saving energy. Energy Star qualified computers have more efficient power supplies and power management features that put the computers into a low-power “sleep mode” after a designated period of inactivity which decreases power consumption. For more information on Energy Star products and requirements, visit www.energystar.gov. As a consumer, buying products that bear the Energy Star badge is a sure way to buy a greener PC.

Another way to ensure environmentally sound purchasing is to buy models selected by the EPA’s Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). This assessment tool is largely based on the European Union standard called the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). The idea is to intentionally exclude hazardous substances (such as lead, mercury, etc.) in manufacturing. Buying products on the EPEAT registry will give you an idea of how green they are. For more information on EPEAT, go to www.epeat.net.

Does Size Matter?

In computer terms, smaller is generally more energy efficient. Realistically however, the aim should be to go for the most energy efficient computer that still suits your needs. The fact is that the most efficient laptop will always be less consumptive than the most efficient desktop – but a high-end, super powerful laptop may not be greener than a desktop built with energy efficient parts. The components that are installed in both are the key to the energy efficiency of the unit, regardless of size. A consumer must ensure that the most energy efficient components are being put into the computer he/she is buying – while still making sure that practical needs are being met. Here are some examples of what to look for:

Monitors

LCD flat panel monitors are more energy efficient than large size CRT’s (which is good, as most manufacturers have quit selling the large CRT models anyway). An LCD uses about 1/3 the power required to run a CRT.

Processors

Processor manufacturers are striving to reduce the power draw of their components. In fact, the Core 2 Duo desktop processor is up to 40% faster and more energy efficient than the single core model.

Graphics Cards

Unfortunately, graphics cards are energy hogs! The key here is to be realistic and choose the card that best fits yours needs. If you aren’t playing advanced games, go with an integrated graphics solution that lowers power consumption.

Power Supplies

In the past, power supplies have not been energy efficient. However, an initiative funded by electric utilities and energy efficient organizations, called the 80 plus program, is striving to change this. The aim of the program is to make power supplies at least 80% more energy efficient. This is a voluntary certification program that manufacturers can undergo to qualify their products. For more information on this program, and to get a list of compliant manufacturers, go to www.80plus.org. An added benefit to a more energy efficient power supply is that since the power supply isn’t taking all the heat-generating energy, it can also eliminate the need for a fan, resulting in a quieter, more reliable PC.

Power Saving Settings

Turning off your computer is the best way to eliminate power consumption while not using it. If long start up time keeps this from being an option for you, adjusting the settings on your PC to put it into “sleep mode” while you are not using it is the next best thing. In Windows, adjusting the power settings is quite easy (start > control panel > power options) and you can set the computer to go into sleep mode after a specified length of time. There are more options for adjusting power consumption in Windows Vista than in Windows XP, which is something to consider when looking to upgrade or buy a new PC.

End of Life Recycling

Another important consideration when buying a computer is what to do with the components as they become outdated. Many manufacturers provide recycling programs for their components. At ici, we take old/replaced computer equipment to Free Geek, a local company that repairs and reuses any components that they can, and recyles the components that they cannot use in an environmentally responsible way. For more information on Free Geek, go to www.freegeek.org. An integral part of being green is to not only buy green components, but to take care of the outdated components in an environmentally conscious way. Choosing manufacturers and service centers that embrace this way of thinking is another way to go green.


Copyright 2008 | All Material Copyrighted, www.icicomputers.com | Site designed by Whitney Burles
Computer Repair Services for the Portland, OR region including: Wilsonville, Woodburn, Canby, Tigard, Tualatin, Aurora, Hubbard, Brooks, Oregon City, and more.