Greening Your PC – Old Tricks and New Tips

Did you know that a standard desktop personal computer can use 60-300 watts in normal operating mode while it can consume as much as 750 watts when used to play video games?  Yes, said energy consumption is equivalent to a standard-sized refrigerator.

Personal computers leave their marks on the environment due to their use of electricity that, in turn, produces coal-generated carbon emissions. And that does not include the environmental costs in their manufacture and disposal.  However, you just cannot abandon the use of personal computers for the sake of the environment, not when the world depends on computers for making life easier on Earth.

The trick then is to use your desktop or laptop in more eco-friendly ways.  You can start with these green tips in mind.

Buy Green

Of course, the first step is to buy greener computer models.  You may use the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool, which uses 28 sustainability and efficiency criteria, to evaluate the eco-friendliness of the computers.  You will find that computers are graded by said tool by awarding gold, silver or bronze for overall performance. Look to Dell and Hewlett Packard for inspiration.

Usually, these green computers will contain operating software that provides users with the choice of power management settings.  For example, Vista can power down if you are just using your computer for typing MSWord documents and power up when you are using programs like the Adobe Premier Pro.

You should also look into the Energy Star label on the personal computer.   Said label was instituted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to guide buyers on the most energy-efficient home appliances.  In fact, whenever you purchase new appliances, always look for the best possible Energy Star label.

Use Wisely

However, if you are not yet in the market for a new desktop or laptop, you can always adopt measures to lessen your environmental impact.  These old tips should help:

- Make your monitor more energy efficient by not using a screen saver and lessening its brightness setting, both of which consume more energy.
- Adjust the sleep cycle of your computer, which is possible in more recent operating software like Windows XP and onwards.
- Use the power management system.  For example, the Macintosh and Windows-based operating systems allow for users to instruct the computer to turn off the hard drive and/or go into the sleep mode after a pre-programmed amount of time.
- Utilize the hibernation mode of the computer, which will save you 5 watts of energy for the desktop model and one watt for a laptop.

The most important tip is, of course, to turn off the computer when it is not in use.  You can save tons of energy and lessen tons of carbon emissions when you adopt this green tip. Besides, it makes no sense for your computer to be turned off for hours at a time without somebody using it.  You will not be getting the desired mileage out of it that you want to have before changing to a newer model.

Your personal computer can be your ally in saving the environment if and when you know how to use it.  After all, how will you get and give more eco-friendly tips over the Internet if you do not have a computer?

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