A cleaner, healthier way of life is what we all aspire for. Going green with your computer will counter the negative impact many of your lifestyle choices have on the environment. Here are a few tips to help make your computer eco-friendly, without radically changing your lifestyle or costing you a lot of money. In fact, going green will bring down your computing costs too!
1. Put your computer to sleep
Shutting down, sleeping, or hibernating your computer when you are not using it conserves electricity. Configure the power settings of your computer for optimal energy use. Set your machine to enter power-saving mode after 20-30 minutes of inactivity.
2. Save paper, send e-mails
Opt for e-mails with a scanned signature, online statements from banks and electronic newsletters for correspondence. Print only what is necessary and also prevent others from printing for you. Previewing a document before printing, deleting unwanted advertisements and images, making the font smaller, printing to PDF and printing on both sides of the paper all help in reducing costs and preserving resources.
3. Turn off the peripherals when not in use
Shut down power-hungry peripherals like printers and monitors when not being used. Check on the gear in your computing setup like an AC adaptor that may draw standby power even when the machine is off. Reduce the brightness of your monitor and close the screen saver to save energy. Turn off your laptop’s Bluetooth capability when not in use to gain extra battery life.
4. Buy a green machine
Laptops use less energy than desktops and are equally suitable for most users. Look for models selected by the EPA's Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), which is largely based on EU standards called Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). Also check if systems wear the Energy Star badge. For this, they must meet certain consumption requirements when idle and when fully powered on. A good multi-core processor will reduce energy usage too.
5. Reuse and recycle
When purchasing a computer or any parts, reuse or recycle all the packaging so that it can help to produce other goods. Recycle any old parts of your computer that you don’t need, including your old computer. You can donate a working PC to a local nonprofit organization, orphanage or a school.
In addition, you could set your homepage to a website that provides a “green tip of the day” (e.g. treehugger) to help reduce your carbon footprint. Start by going green with your computer and take a step towards and a toxin free lifestyle!