Thursday, October 25, 2007

Green Computer: FAQ2

FAQ. I want to "green" my small office to become carbon neutral. How can I reduce my computing carbon footprint?

Ans. PCs have a carbon footprint by the use of electricity and production of heat. You can't do much about the tonnes of water, energy and raw materials that go into making a PC, but you can opt to buy computers that use fewer resources to manufacture and less energy to run. For example, laptops tend to be much more efficient with raw material, are designed to consume less energy and create less heat. So if you have an older PC with a CRT monitor it is time to dispose of this for a new, lean, green model. How much carbon will you save? Some suggest older PCs generate about 100kg a week or 5.2 tonnes a year, which is roughly equal to 10 trees.

Printers waste paper and some produce copious amounts of ozone (lasers), and they use inks and toners, some harmful to the atmosphere. To reduce paper, buy a printer that duplexes (prints on both sides). Choose printers that have multi-functions (print, fax, scan, copy) as these generally use less electricity than standalone devices. Finally, buy more environmentally friendly printers. Energy Star ratings have been introduced in the US ( and Australia will soon follow. Greening IT is part of a wider plan. Reduce, recycle and reuse is the mantra and the sooner we all start thinking about it and doing something the better.