Green computing

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Green Computing is the study and practice of using computing resources efficiently. The global use of computing resources, both servers and desktops, continues to grow dramatically. There are opportunities to reduce the ecological footprint of computing through careful selection of hardware and improved computer network designs.


Actions you can take

  • Buy and use a low power desktop or a laptop computer (40-90 watts) rather a higher power desktop (e.g. 300 watts). Find out the normal operating power (watts) required. The maximum power supply (up to 1kW in some modern gaming PCs) is not as important as the normal operating power.
  • For desktops, buy a low power central processing unit (CPU). This reduces both power consumption and cooling requirements.
  • Buy hardware from manufacturers that have a hardware recycling scheme, and recycle your old computer equipment rather than sending it to landfill
  • Turn your computer and monitor off when you are not using it.
  • Enable hibernation using the power management settings. Standby does not save as much power
  • Replace your CRT screen with an LCD screen.
  • Keep your PC or laptop for at least 5 years. If you leasing, shift to a 5 year period. This reduces resource and energy consumption associated with the manufacture and distribution of PCs by 40%, compared to replacing PCs every 3 years which is current corporate practice.
  • Avoid an unnecessary operating system version upgrade which requires a hardware upgrade.
  • Use Linux (such as Ubuntu), which requires less resources than many other operating systems on an older computer as a spare or a file server.

Corporates and businesses

  • Use server virtualisation to aggregate multiple under-utilised servers onto more energy efficient server infrastructure.
  • Specify low energy consumption level in Request for Tender documents.
  • Shift to 5 year desktop and laptop leases.
  • Measure your data centre power usage.
  • Use server and/or web-based applications where possible to extend desktop service life and reduce desktop software maintenance.
  • Establish policies governing the acquisition, usage and disposal of computer hardware to minimise energy consumption and environmental impact.
See also Business IT energy efficiency

Benefits - food for thought

From the Australian Greenhouse Office site's electronics page on computers and laptops:

  • A laptop computer used 5 hours each day generates around 40 kilograms of greenhouse gas each year. Desktop computers used the same way can generate between 200 and 500 kilograms. More than half of this is from using the monitor.
  • An LCD panel monitor generates around half as much greenhouse gas as a conventional CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitor. Adjusting its brightness lower can cut emissions to a quarter.
  • Switch computers and equipment off when they’re not in use. This cuts greenhouse gases, extends product life and avoids a potential fire hazard.


Fit-PC: a tiny PC that draws only 5w

Tiny PC consumes only 5W but runs Win XP and Linux Via Slashdot


Fit-PC is the size of a paperback and absolutely silent, yet fit enough to run Windows XP or Linux. fit-PC is designed to fit where a standard PC is too bulky, noisy and power hungry. If you ever wished for a PC to be compact, quiet and green – then fit-PC is the perfect fit for you. Fit-PC draws only 5 Watts, consuming in a day less power than a traditional PC consumes in 1 hour. You can leave fit-PC to work 24/7 without making a dent in your electric bill.

Zonbu computer

Zonbu PC
Zonbu PC

"The Zonbu is a new, very energy efficient PC. The Zonbu consumes just one third of the power of a typical light bulb. The device runs the Linux operating system using a 1.2 gigahertz processor and 512 meg of RAM. It also contains no moving parts, and does even contain a fan. You can get one for as little as US$99, but it does require you to sign up for a two-year subscription."

From Metaefficient

See also

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