Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Microsoft champions green computing

Microsoft has announced plans to support four academic research projects focused on energy-efficient computing as part of its Sustainable Computing Program.

The initiatives focus on data centre power efficiency, power management and the creation of parallel computing architectures with decreased energy demands.

The idea is to stimulate research across a broad range of areas with the potential significantly to improve energy efficiency.

Microsoft External Research said that a single 100-watt incandescent light bulb left on for a year costs more than $80 to power and releases 1,350 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

This is roughly the same amount of power that an idle green PC uses in that same time, and the company said that finding ways to lessen humankind's impact on the environment is critical.

"We want to open new avenues of research and raise the awareness of power as a critical resource that needs to be managed," said Sailesh Chutani, senior director of Microsoft External Research.

"Through this programme, we are encouraging novel thinking about how to reduce that power consumption and how to make technology more environmentally friendly in the future."

Microsoft's Sustainable Computing Program explores two main areas of research that can have a major impact.

The first is the principle of 'pay for play'. This is the idea that the power consumed by a computing device should be proportional to the demand placed on it, lowering the amount of energy consumed at low load and when idle.

Secondly, energy efficiency, even at peak loads, is equally important in reducing overall consumption and should be managed as a first-class resource.

"We applaud the efforts of these academic researchers to develop innovative technologies to reduce energy usage and lessen the impact on the environment," said Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft.

"Microsoft believes in the potential of software to help create a more sustainable environment.

"The Sustainable Computing Program is just one example of Microsoft's ongoing commitment to help businesses and consumers drive change through energy efficiency."

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

No Power Use in Standby: New Zero-Watt Monitor

Computer monitors in standby mode will soon save far more energy. Fujitsu Siemens Computers has developed the world’s first monitor that requires no electricity at all in idle mode.

The innovation is based on a new switch in the monitor that shuts it down entirely when the computer signal is absent and turns it on again when the signal reappears. With this switch, the display saves several euros per year in power costs. Beginning in the summer of 2008, this “zero-watt monitor” will be sold for the price of a conventional monitor.

At the end of a work day, the same routine occurs in most offices when the computer is shut down. But the monitor usually stays on—it automatically enters standby mode when there is no signal from the computer. Despite the minimal power consumption, this idle mode can entail tens of thousands of euros in additional power costs per year for large companies with several thousand computers.

The zero-watt monitor from Fujitsu Siemens Computers was chosen as “Innovation of the Year” at this year’s CeBIT computer trade show. The primary component is a circuit element in the power supply unit of the monitor that is switched by the PC. As soon as the video signal of the computer subsides, a relay—an electrically powered switch—with two switching positions automatically interrupts the entire electrical circuit of the monitor. When the computer signal returns again, the low currents that then begin to flow across the interface are sufficient to trigger the relay and thereby restart the monitor.

The zero-watt monitor, which will initially be marketed to corporate customers beginning in the summer of 2008, adds to the range of “green” IT products sold by Fujitsu Siemens Computers. This is another component of the long-term strategy of the company, which also stresses environmental compatibility in its laptops, PCs and servers.

Several years ago, for instance, some of the Esprimo Professional PCs were the first systems to be certified with the “Blue Angel” environmental label. The Esprimo P Energy Saving Edition, uses as little as around 87 kilowatt hours in its standard configuration, less than half of the 183 kWh needed on average by nearly four-year-old office PCs.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Going Green with Your PC

While most PC and electronic manufactures have already taken steps in making their products more green, those of us who are stuck with non-green equipment need not completely throw away our stuff to show our love for the planet. In fact, by disposing of all our non-environmentally safe electronic equipment carelessly, we only contribute to the continuing pollution of the planet.

Thanks to Lifehacker, there are simple ways of going green with regards to your computer without exactly having to purchase a new one. From taking advantage of the Power Scheme tools of Windows/Applications to something as simple as turning off unused peripherals, these tips can make a world of difference in the fight to save Mother Earth.

Come to think of it, there’s really no excuse for us not to be able to do our share in the green movement. Ordinary stuff as those suggested above or unplugging fully-charged mobile phones/devices not only save energy, but also saves you from unwanted expenses in this financially-challenging times. Spread the word and let these simple yet effective practices become part of your daily routine.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Dell claims "greenest" PC

On Earth Day 2008 Dell came out and announced the world's greenest PC. This is Dell trying to grab some spotlight, and when you look at what they actually said, it's pretty much fluff. The Mac Mini and everex's MyMiniPC have been publicly praised for their "greenity". What Dell did today was say "we're going to do that also". The Dell product doesn't even have a name yet, let alone a price or specs. This could be because Intel or AMD hasn't released the chip for it yet, but in reality it is probably because isn't fully designed yet. Dell might also have some insider info (that's my opinion).

If Dell knows that Steve is going to release a new MacMini at the World Wide Developer's Conference in June (WWDC 08), then Dell will want to get their product out before Apple does. Problem is that it isn't ready yet. By all logic reasoning the new Mac Mini would be even more "green" than it's current form, and will probably be more green than Dell's unnamed mini. So what does Dell do? Announce their "green" machine before Apple announces theirs.>span class="fullpost">

Just for the record, I'm for the green movement. It's a necessity. But Dell using Earth Day to promote a product that isn't even made or named yet is just not 'Earthy" to me.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Easy Ways to Go Green with Your Computer

Green PC
Not everyone can afford to install solar panels or get a new Prius this Earth Day, but there is one place you can go green without spending an arm and a leg or radically changing your lifestyle: your computer. Chances are you spend the majority of your day sitting in front of the keyboard, and a few small changes can go a long way toward reducing its negative impact on the environment. As an added bonus, doing your part for the environment will save you money, too. This Earth Day, we've rounded up a few simple ways you can go green with your computer.

Shutdown Your Computer Without Losing the Perks of an Always-On PC

Obviously, computers require electricity to run, so shutting down, sleeping, or hibernating your computer when you're not using it conserves energy. Every modern operating system has its own settings for conserving power, so the first thing you should do—if you haven't already—is open the power settings of your computer and set them for optimal energy use. Set your computer to put your monitor to sleep, spin down your hard drives, and put your computer to sleep when you're not using it. Even better, since your green computer uses less power when hibernating than when sleeping, set up your computer to hibernate rather than just go to sleep.

One of the biggest turn-offs (no pun intended) about shutting down or sleeping your computer is that you miss out on some of the finer things your computer provides even when you're away. For example, if you're downloading a large file, you may want the download to continue even when you're away. Likewise, we've covered tons of ways to remotely access your computer, all of which no longer work if your computer's turned off. Luckily you can continue using your computer during these times but still conserve power the rest of the time.

If a download is what you're waiting for, many peer-to-peer clients, like the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent, can shutdown your computer when a download completes so you can get your file and save energy, too.

Between WinOFF and built-in shutdown features common to many apps, we've taken care of the the download problem—but what about when you want to access your computer remotely? If it's shut down, you can't very well get to it, can you? Actually, you can, assuming you set up Wake-on-LAN on your computer. Once Wake-on-LAN's enabled, you can turn your computer on over the internet from anywhere—so there's no reason not to shut down your computer when you leave the house.

Finally, if you're on a Mac laptop, check out previously mentioned SmartSleep to enhance your power-saving options.

Save Paper when Printing

When it comes to the environment, one of the first places most offices can improve is the giant pile of discarded paper by the network printer. Aside from obvious things you can do on your own—like printing duplex, printing to PDF, previewing before printing, and not printing hundreds of copies of an email forward to plaster around the office—there are a few other tools you can use to minimize wasting paper and ink when printing.

aardvark.pngTo save ink and paper when you're printing from your browser, use previously mentioned Firefox extension Aardvark to tweak the layout of a page and remove elements—like ads and images—that you don't need on the printed page.

greenprint.pngWhen you're not printing from the browser, Windows users can save tons on ink and paper with previously mentioned GreenPrint, a freeware application that automatically identifies and removes unnecessary pages or space from your printouts before they head to the printer.

If you're regularly sending documents back and forth to other people or businesses, you can also save a few trees and save a little time in the process with a couple of office hacks. For example, rather than going through the age-old print, sign, and fax dance handed down through the generations by our forefathers, try creating a scanned signature and then sending scanned PDFs rather than faxes. It's quicker and it saves on resources and costs.

Turn Off Peripherals to Kill the Vampires

Now that you've put good energy practices into use on your PC, it's time to move onto the power-hungry peripherals you've got plugged into it. Whenever possible, you want to turn off any peripheral when you're not using it—like your printer or monitor. Likewise, you should be aware of any gear in your computing setup that draws standby power (a.k.a., vampire power) even when you've turned off the device in question. Vampires commonly stand out as large, unsightly AC adapters.

While you could diligently unplug your wall warts or keep them plugged into a power strip that you switch off when they're not in use, you can go even further and automate the process with gadgets like the Energy Saving Smart Strip (original post) and the Power Minder (original post), both of which monitor your PC's power state and automatically shut down other peripherals when you turn off your computer.

Estimate Your Power Usage

It's one thing to know your computer sucks down a lot of energy every month, but actual power usage numbers drives the point home. Windows can install previously mentioned LocalCooling, an tool that both helps you tweak your Windows power saving settings and visualize the amount of power your computer consumes. Some users reported inaccurate measures with the app when we first posted about it, but the well-intentioned LocalCooling team continues in their efforts to improve the application and help you save energy and visualize the impact of your energy-saving.

If LocalCooling's not giving you accurate results or you want to get a more definitive look at your PC's power consumption, regardless of your operating system, this Coding Horror post demonstrates in detail how to determine and lower the cost of leaving your PC running
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

5 Tips For Buying Green Desktop Gear

You may very well prefer to postpone the task of refreshing your fleet of desktop systems and monitors, an exercise that can be both expensive and time-consuming. But inevitably, machines break down or your needs change, so you have to bite the bullet.

Following are some points to consider the next time a system refresh looms at your organization. Notably, many of these tips apply not only to desktops, laptops, and monitors -- but any piece of IT gear.

1. Know your needs. Hopefully, you wouldn't buy a high horse-power pickup truck or SUV if you didn't need its extra fuel-guzzling power when a gas-efficient sedan would suffice. You should most cer-tainly apply that mindset to your PC purchase: Higher-end systems with more powerful components tend to draw more energy. Before you shop, consider what your computing needs are for the present, as well as the near future.

For example, you might be a Windows XP shop today but envision mov-ing to Vista in a year. If so, remember that Vista's bare minimum system requirements are an 800MHz processor, 512MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive with at least 15GB of available space, and support for Super VGA graphics. Then again, you might be contemplating a move to an alternative OS such as Ubuntu, which has minimum requirements of a 300MHz proc-essor, 64MB of RAM, 4GB of disk space (for full installation and swap space), and a VGA graphics card capable of 640x480 resolution.

In a similar vein, be honest with yourself as to what size monitors your users need. Larger screens with higher resolution have higher energy re-quirements -- but some tasks, like video-editing and spreadsheet work, really do scream for a large viewing space.

Finally, give thought to replacing desktop systems and monitors with laptops -- again, if laptops can really suit you and your users needs. From a green perspective, a laptop requires fewer parts to build; it's small and lighter and thus requires fewer resources to package and ship it. In terms of your annual electric bills, a laptop costs less to power than a similarly equipped PC plus a monitor.

2. Embrace energy efficiency. Once you know your needs, try to find a PC or laptop that meets those requirements as well as Energy Star 4.0. That way, you'll know it's got an 80-percent efficient power supply and knows how to make the most of low-power modes. (There's also an Energy Star specification for monitors, which is more dated but still useful.)

Energy efficiency can shave a chunk of money from your annual utility bills, plus reduce your carbon footprint. Energy Star-compliant systems are easy to find, be it through the Energy Star Web site or your preferred computer vendor.

3. Don't disregard other "green" criteria. Green criteria covers a lot of territory beyond energy efficiency, from the materials used to the ease with which it can be disassembled. These criteria not only have environmental implications but also cost-cutting potential.

There are several such factors to consider here and ask vendors about as you shop. The EPEAT (Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool) registry breaks the criteria down into several convenient over-arching categories. (You can search the EPEAT registry for products that meet these type of criteria, by the way, down to a granular level.)

a. Reduction/elimination of environmentally sensitive materials. Is it important to you that a machine meets the criteria set out in the EU's RoHS directive, which limits the usage of certain hazardous substances in electronics? Or perhaps you want a machine that exceeds those requirements, using even less lead, mercury, chromium -- as well as little to no PVC and hazardous flame retardants. The benefit here is to reduce the adverse effects e-waste has on the planet and people when it ends up in landfills.

b. Material selection. If you're an advocate of recycling and reuse, it might matter to you if the machine's plastic parts are made from recycled plastic, as well as renewable and bio-based plastic materials. These are certainly an Earth-friendly consideration.

c. Design for end of life. Beyond just the amount of recycled ma-terials that go into building the system, you might be concerned with how well the machine was designed for treatment once it's retired. The easier it is to open the enclosures and remove parts -- and the more reusable parts it contains -- the better for the environment. But it's also good for your company if you see the wisdom in purchasing refurbished machines. (See tip No. 5)

d. Product longevity/life cycle extension. Piece of mind comes with a multi-year warranty: It means the machine was built to last a while. Beyond that, consider asking how well the product was designed for upgrading. For example, was it built in a way that it's easy to swap in parts such as new memory or drives with common tools -- or even major com-ponents such as the processor? (See tip No. 4.) On top of the environmental benefits, those kinds of traits often result in cost savings, making it easier for you to invest in parts instead of entire systems when a machine becomes too dated for your needs.

e. Energy conservation. Beyond Energy Star compliance, you might find out whether there are chargers available for the system that draw on clean energy.

f. End of life management. When it comes time to retire your equipment, it's ideal if the vendor offers convenient -- and preferably free -- recycling services, be it directly or through a third party. Some vendors will even offer incentives on new equipment if you return their older gear to them for recycling.

g. Corporate performance. If you've made a commitment to protecting the environment, you may want to hold those you do business with to a similar standard. Some companies demonstrate this with a corporate environmental policy that meets certain international standards, as well as by producing annual reports on their environmental efforts.

h. Packaging. When you purchase a machine, you also have to deal with all the packaging. You might want to know whether that packaging is easy to recycle, or if the company will take back the packaging for reuse (or at least recycling).

4. Consider doing it yourself. After you've made a list of your needs, take a second look at what you've got. Do your systems really need to be replaced -- or would adding additional memory or a new graphics card do the trick? Depending on how many machines you have at your company (or home office), how well the machines are built for upgrades, and your comfort with do-it-yourself electronics projects, that approach might be not practical. But if you can pull it off, you'll save yourself some money and extend the life of your investment.

5. Go the refurbished route. Major hardware vendors as well as third parties sell pre-owned machines at the fraction of the cost of a new machine; thus you can save a tidy sum while doing the Earth-friendly thing. As with buying a new machine, you'll want to determine your computing needs and green criteria in advance so you make smarter choices.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

PC Qik Turns Old PCs Green

In Painesville, Ohio, offices at New Directions for Living used to get computers as a donation. As years passed, it became a mounting problem for the officials there to dispose of them properly when new equipment was acquired. Fortunately, a company in Painesville, called PC Qik, has come forward to help New Directions.

Thomas Wallace, CEO of PC Qik, has spent two years educating people on ways they can discard old computers. Wallace built a multilayered computer recycling program for this disposal process. Executive director of New Directions, Betty Jurkowski said of the computers, "We’re not going to disguise them in trash bags; Wallace helps us dispose of them the right way, which is what we want to do."

The disposal of computers actually includes a plan to find out whether the retrieved computers from individuals, businesses, and organizations like New Directions can be salvaged. If a PC can run Windows 2000 or higher, it could wind up in a pair of grateful hands.

"Somebody else’s garbage may be something that somebody else can use," Wallace said.

Wallace hasn’t designated a specific price for his refurbished computers, but said he prides himself on recognizing individual situations and working with people to get them a deal at "little to no cost." To prevent long lines of people looking for free PCs, Wallace has limited the distribution portion of the program to individuals through agencies like New Directions, preschool programs, churches, and other community initiatives. He is in talks with the county’s Council on Aging and its recycling program.

"It’s really good to see that people can be occupied with computers they’ve never seen before," Wallace said. "They can go job hunting, or if one isn’t feeling well, they can keep them occupied, or can help go places and do things."

PC Qik also will help pick up old computers from the homes of senior citizens and the disabled for free.

Wallace believes that now is a very good time for this recycling program to take shape with green and energy efficiency concerns growing in every corner of the world, and discarding old computers certainly presents a major environmental challenge, especially in light of the rapid pace of innovation and the resultant upgrades, both in the business and consumer worlds.

Wallace uses a government-approved program to erase and/or reformat the hard drives of both the computers that will be refurbished and those that will not be used again. Reusable computers will be upgraded with legal software, like the free Open Office Suite, developed by Santa Clara, Calif.-basedSun Microsystems.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

IBM Launches Energy Efficient Server

IT major IBM on Monday launched two products, a UNIX server and a water-cooled supercomputer, which have energy-saving capabilities.

The new products are energy efficient and would help reduce bottom line operating costs, IBM said in a release. The new UNIX Enterprise Server is the fastest Unix server in the world and is targeted at the existing IBM clients, the release said.

IBM's new Power6 `Hydro-cluster' supercomputer is built to help users tackle problems in fields such as energy, aerospace and weather modeling.

The new system, uses an in-rack, water-cooling system which offers users nearly five times the performance and more than three times the energy efficiency of its predecessor, the company said.

The two launched are part of a comprehensive launch of a new generation of IBM Power Systems which began last week.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Dell HQ Goes 100pc Green

Dell’s entire 2.1 million square-foot global headquarters in Austin, Texas which employs over 10,000 people, is now running entirely on green PC power coming from wind farms, as well as waste-to-energy conversion.

Paul Bell, president of Dell Americas, said that now was the time for the technology industry to lead the way in achieving carbon neutrality through energy efficient processes like recycling and energy conservation,as well as utilizing renewable power sources.

"Powering an entire campus with green power is an important step in becoming the greenest technology company on the planet and the right thing to do for our shared earth," said Bell.

“At the same time, we’re using green technology to drive operating expense down.”

40pc of the headquarter’s green power is coming from a gas-to-energy plant at a community landfill run by US recycling firm Waste, while the rest is sourced from wind farms run by TXU Energy.

“We’re very pleased that our Austin Community Landfill’s gas-to-energy project will play a key role in Dell’s commitment to using renewable energy. This project is part of our company’s environmental initiative to increase the production of waste-based energy.

"Today, we create enough energy for the equivalent of one million homes each year and by 2020 we expect to double that output, producing enough energy for the equivalent of more than two million homes," said David Steiner, chief executive officer of Waste Management Inc.

This green conversion is expected to give Dell almost $2bn in annual savings on operating costs, while cutting CO2 equivalent emissions by nearly 12,000 tonnes a year.

Dell has always been at the forefront in pushing the green envelope: in February of this year it became the first ever computer company to join the not-for-profit Climate Group, vowing carbon neutrality for its company facilities, manufacturing operations and business-related air travel.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

CIOs Going Eco With Green IT

Green is the new black for CIOs as environmental issues shoot to the top of the IT agenda. Three-quarters of CIOs say eco-friendly computing is an important part of their IT strategy, with a further 15 per cent saying it's their top priority, according to a report by analyst Datamonitor.

One in five of the 245 CIOs surveyed said their firm has incorporated a green IT agenda into their business strategy, with a further third set to do so within the next two years.

Turning green increasingly makes sense to businesses faced with shrinking budgets, sprawling infrastructure footprints and increased waste disposal regulations, the report says. Vamshi Mokshagundam, technology analyst at Datamonitor, said green IT offers significant cost savings, increased flexibility and regulatory compliance.

"Green IT is now being driven as much by an element of business strategy as by a sense of corporate social responsibility," he said. "It is only recently that companies have begun incorporating green IT in their core business strategy."

The report, 2008 Trends to Watch: Green IT, predicts that use of virtualisation, IT recycling schemes, software as a service and low-carbon technologies will continue to grow.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Computer Switch-off Software Makes IT Greener

A SCOTTISH company has designed software that automatically turns off work computers after hours, which it claims could lead to a reduction in carbon emissions equivalent to taking two million cars off UK roads.

Several million office workers in the UK leave their computers on overnight, emitting enormous levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Carbon Control Software (CCS), a new Aberdeen-based company, will launch the program in May, alongside a social networking site called Carbon Earth which automatically uploads information on how much a company has cut its carbon emissions and provides at-a-glance view of which businesses are the most green.

They will give the software away for free to home users and charge businesses £5 per computer, with the promise that £25 would be saved on every machine.

John Gillies, joint chief executive of CCS, said that his software would cut the environmental impact of all businesses that use IT. The sector is estimated to emit around one billion tonnes of CO2 a year - between 2 to 4% of global emissions. This is more than aviation and the military combined.

He said: "Employees think that there is no real consequence to leaving your computer on but it's a substantial waste of energy."

The software works by simply cutting power to computers and then producing data centrally on how much energy is saved in order to calculate the difference in carbon emissions.

There are already programs that do similar things but Gillies claimed that his company's product was the only one specifically designed with carbon cuts in mind.

CCS has already had interest from investors. The software is currently being tested by companies such as oil drilling giant VetcoGray, which is owned by General Electric, and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Greens, said that innovative ways of combating global emissions were the only way to avoid "stark changes to our lifestyles".

There have already been attempts by environmentalists and government to persuade people to switch their computers off after work, but most have fallen on deaf ears.

John Stocks, manager of Carbon Trust Scotland, said that using automatic software was "one avenue to go down" and warned: "IT uses a tremendous amount of energy and it is very important that all computers are switched off when they are not needed, such as overnight.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Going Green at Work Can Save Money

Companies that sacrifice their commitment to green computing during budget cuts could actually save more money by sticking with their eco-friendly plans.

As the IT industry looks to cut costs, companies are often tempted to abandon their green PC initiatives. This move, however, may end up costing them more in the long run as research proves most companies actually save money by turning green.

"Faced with an economic downturn, many organisations tend to cut back on soft programmes - such as green efforts - as a cost saving measure," said Steve Kleynhans, research vice president of IT research company Gartner.

"However, companies need to pursue these low-risk initiatives as they often provide quick returns that are especially attractive in a cost-cutting environment."

The costs of going green are usually recovered within 12 to 18 months and do not significantly add to companies' current operating costs, Kleynhans said.

Gartner suggested a number of moves for IT departments to make for a successful transition to green PC operations.

First, companies are urged to purchase new PCs that carry an eco-friendly label signifying they can reduce power consumption by over 20 per cent. This move can be very beneficial for the company, as it reduces energy costs.

Second, the IT research company also urges users to put their computers into a low power state when they are not using them. This move also reduces energy costs.

Additionally, companies should make sure their old computer parts are properly recycled when replace their older machines, Gartner said.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Computer Reuse/Recycling Event on 19 April 2008

A computer reuse/recycling event has been added to the Clermont 20/20 Clean and Green Spring Litter Pickup Saturday, April 19.

"This is a great opportunity for any Clermont County resident or business to drop off a computer free of charge that they are no longer using. When possible, used computers are refurbished, the hard drives are erased and software is reloaded. These computers then end up in schools, churches, not-for-profit organizations and families that ordinarily could not afford a computer. Computers that cannot be refurbished and reused are completely recycled and the hard drives crushed. Reusing or recycling computers prevents thousands of pounds of toxic electronic waste from going into our local landfills," said Becky Ploucha, director of the Clermont 20/20 Clean and Green Program.

Walt Fischer of Cincinnati Computer Cooperative said, "Last year, 20 percent of donated equipment was sold to schools, nonprofits, students and families for under $100 per computer. As a sponsor of 'Crayons to Computers' complete computer systems are given to that organization."

This event is organized by the Clermont 20/20 Clean and Green Program and the Cincinnati Computer Cooperative. Both organizations would like to thank the Miami Township elected officials and administration for hosting this event.

Computers can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday, April 19, at the Miami Township Service Department, 5900 McPicken Drive, Enter off of Meijer Drive, next to the Dairy Queen.

Contact Ploucha at or 753-9222 for additional information.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Apple Introduces Free Recycling For Any Brand

Apple continues to do penance for its eco-sins with the launch of a new recycling scheme that will accept not only its own products, but those of rival PC brands as well. That's right; in the name of greenness, the age-old rift is no more.

How will this work? Apple is offering free recycling on items such as CPUs, iPods and mobile phones, both in-store and online; a freepost label is generated when the user fills out their details. Apple will pay for the shipping, with the one proviso that those taking advantage of the service must have already bought an Apple computer. Details on how to recycle your computer equipment are on Apple's.

How to recycle your computer equipment, get information from here
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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Go Green: Power Your PC With Just 9 Watts

In the future, we'll all work on tower-free workstations, hooked up to IT Support's central server like dribbling, brain-dead human fuel cells from 'The Matrix'. And, like the second and third installments of that trilogy, it will be rubbish.

With no opportunity to fill our hard drives with jpegs, music files and 'hilarious' video, and with the all-seeing eye of the fat controllers able to daily comb through our 'PCs', we'll have no alternative but to work. Hard. All the live-long day.

Nonetheless, there are upsides to this loss of computing freedom and identity.

The absence of PC towers may mean that you have nowhere to display your collection of stuffed toys and commemorative ashtrays, but it will also reduce the temperature in your office. And Mother Earth will be grateful too. Today's average dual-core office PC only rarely uses more than a small percentage of its capabilities, but it still destroys a patch of ozone layer the size of Watford every time you power up. (And getting rid of all that computer-generated heat with air-conditioning soon sees off the rest of the home counties.)

The solution, it seems, lies in products such as the VeryPC GreenHive system, which the Sheffield PC manufacturer claims is the least power-hungry workstation (your bosses') money can buy.

In essence the GreenHive is a single, powerful but low-energy PC, from which a (provided) network cable connects up to seven further workstations. Each workstation consists only of a screen, a keyboard and a mouse, plus a cigarette-packet sized adaptor that VeryPC provides. (This adaptor is known as the 'client box', which brought to my mind a packing case full of besuited men with expense accounts.) The Client Box connects GreenHive, keyboard, mouse and screen, and you're away.

Despite the fact that the GreenHive houses only a dual-core processor, VeryPC reckons that it is perfectly capable of fulfilling the (work) needs of office workers, call-centre cannon fodder and pupils in a classroom (so long as they're not the sixth form computer science class at the Crysis Tester's Technology College). And each 'PC' requires only 9W of power to run.

That's right, 9 piffling Watts.

To put that into context, yer average modern PC requires about 72W to run, and if your system is more than three years old it's probably chowing down on a massive 216W of juice even as you read this.

So even if you're not Bono, Arnie or Swampy (remember him?), you'll save so much green on power bills that you'll be able to afford to go green. Especially when you factor in the initial outlay. Getting a GreenHive for an office of eight will cost around three grand, according to VeryPC. Far less than buying eight desktops and a separate server - and there's less work for tech support to do.

For resource reasons the GreenHive runs only on XP Pro (which doesn't seem to be an unpopular choice) and an AMD chip (no comment). It comes with only a 250GB hard drive, which isn't a huge amount for eight users. But VeryPC says there is plenty of space inside to boost the storage, you get a free online backup service and the GreenHive is designed to exist on a larger network, so what do the workers need local storage for anyway?

Read more!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

10 Eco-Friendly Solutions to Go Green

There are endless ways to create a greener workplace from using recycled products to installing doubled-paned windows for better insulation. The best way to start is by taking small steps. Here are a few ideas you can work with.

1. Green up your commute:- Since your workday begins when you arrive, let's start with how you get there. The best-case scenario is to telecommute by working from home. Today's technology--e.g., video conferencing, instant messaging and online seminars--has made this a reality. However, if your office can't be home based and walking or biking is not an option, consider carpooling with two to three other like-minded people or using public transportation.

2. Go digital:- The greenest paper is no paper, and one of the most effective ways to be more eco-friendly in your office is to reduce paper waste. Switch from a fax machine to a fax modem to send and receive paperless documents. Use electronic forms whenever possible, and e-mail letters and documents to be read online rather than printed out. Have staff members take their laptops to team meetings so they aren't printing reams of reports.

3. Read the green print:- When printing is unavoidable, use the draft mode on your printer and make double-sided printing your default. The same rules apply to your copier as well. You should also use 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. Glenn Croston, author of 75 Green Businesses You Can Start to Make Money and Make a Difference, also recommends using software to avoid printing excess blank pages and converting documents to PDF files for paperless document sharing.

4. Green your PC:- Since we're talking about using computers to their maximum potential, we also need to discuss how to make them more efficient and environmentally friendly. Start by putting computers on "standby" or in "hibernation" mode when they haven't been accessed for more than 10 minutes; turn them completely off when you're finished working for the day. When it's time to replace older desktop computers, switch to a laptop for more efficiency. Not only are they more portable, but they use 80 percent less energy. And when upgrading, take advantage of take-back programs for people who want to recycle their old computers.

5. Can you see the light? Daylight is the best natural resource. However, natural lighting is not always adequate, and energy-efficient light bulbs such as compact fluorescent bulbs or LEDs should replace incandescent lighting for cost and energy savings. Just be sure to turn off the lights when leaving the room. Croston recommends installing occupancy sensors or timers on lights so they automatically turn off when no one is around.

6. Get real. Plants that is. A silk tree may be easier to take care of, but a real one adds natural beauty to your surroundings while improving the quality of indoor air. This can be especially important if you work in a newer building that is tightly sealed to conserve energy. Older buildings and homes may also feature materials that produce harmful pollutants from synthetic carpeting and fabrics, plastic coated wallpaper or laminated countertops. One of the best natural defenses against these contaminants is to make liberal use of live houseplants.

7. Take a break. And when you do, toss the plastic wear and foam cups. Encourage your employees to bring lunch from home in reusable containers or frequent restaurants that have green carryout initiatives like Chipotle. Provide washable china and utensils in your lunchroom, or encourage staffers to bring their own. This would also be an excellent time to get some coffee mugs with your company logo on them for visitors and employees to use.

8. Perk up. Speaking of coffee, use fair-trade certified, shade-grown coffee in reusable coffee filters. Not only is organic coffee better for you, but the shade-grown beans helps to protect biodiversity of the fragile ecosystems in the countries that grow it, while the reusable filters cut down on waste. Croston also cautions against using nondairy creamers in coffee because they are loaded with hydrogenated oils and other unhealthy products.

9. Use green marketing tools. Promote your eco-friendly habits in your marketing materials, both internally and externally. "Let your customers, suppliers, and employees know that you are taking active steps to protect and preserve the environment," says business writer Jacquelyn Lynn. "It will build loyalty and enhance your company's image." This can be done in a number of ways, but one of the simplest is to add a green tag line to e-mails that [says] something like: "Please think green before printing this e-mail" or "Bio-based for a healthier environment."

10. Don't just think green; wear it. Another change you can personally make is to have a green wardrobe. Purchase clothing with organic fibers such as cotton, silk, wool or hemp, or fabric made from recycled materials. Who knew plastic soda bottles could look so good? Try to avoid clothing that requires dry cleaning, but if it does, look for a green dry cleaner that uses a carcinogen-free process. Another recyclable fashion alternative is to "go vintage" by visiting secondhand and thrift shops.

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