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Going Green With Your Computers

written by: PatrickDickey•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 2/1/2010

No one is really discussing how technology and going green go hand in hand. How are your computers going green? While everyone is discussing the need to go green, they're not really helping you do it. This article will have tips for how to make your technology and computer a little greener.

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    Do you have to purchase the latest and greatest to go green?

    While it would be easier to purchase the latest in green technology, it is also more expensive. And it also brings about the question (and paradox) of "What do I do with my old equipment?" There are some steps that you can take to make your old equipment behave in a more environmentally friendly way.

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    If you're not using it, turn it off.

    Most modern day operating systems have the hibernate feature and the standby feature. In Windows Vista, they have their hybrid sleep, which is a combination of the two features. In Linux, you have "Suspend to Memory" and "Suspend to Disk". The difference between the two is this. Standby (or "Suspend to Memory" puts the computer into a low power state, but still has everything turned on. Hibernate or "Suspend to Disk" saves the contents of your RAM into a file (hiberfil.sys on Windows) and shuts the computer down completely.

    Your other alternative is to shut the computer down completely. While this will take longer to boot up than hibernate, it also guarantees that it will remain off while you are away. However some corporate policies prohibit this (for updating purposes).

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    Save trees... (and Gas)

    With the advent of online bill paying and shopping, you are able to conserve trees as well as automate your financials. If the companies you do business with offer the option of "e-Statements", "e-Bills", or "Paperless Statements" take advantage of this. Not only do you save paper, but you also reduce the chances of your bill or statement being lost in the mail. Along this line, consider paying the bills online (thus saving checks, envelopes, stamps, and worries about your check being lost). And shopping online will save gas and time.

    When you have to print something out, reuse paper when able. If you have something that you printed out on one side, use the other side for a different print out. Most printers and software will allow you to print on both sides of the page. This is a much "greener" option than printing one page on one piece of paper.

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    Small purchases can add up to huge savings...

    Purchasing a new power supply for your computer, or even a UPS will go a long ways in savings for you and the environment. The newer power supplies are more energy efficient. And the newer UPS systems come with more efficiency also. One feature included in some UPS systems is the ability to shut down "NCL" (Non-Critical Loads) outlets to conserve power. Another is in software to power off systems on a schedule and not allow them to turn back on until their scheduled time.

    And purchasing new monitors or more energy efficient printers will do wonders for your electrical consumption. A CRT monitor uses a lot more electricity than an LCD one. And the newer printers are not as big of energy hogs as their older cousins. You should put the monitor and printer on the "Surge" outlets on your UPS (not the battery outlets) to prolong battery life, in case of a power outage.

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    Final thoughts

    If you do decide to purchase new equipment, contact your local recycling centers (or your city) to find out where you can recycle your old equipment. The last thing that you want to do is throw it into a landfill. For more information on going green, check out these articles:

    Microsoft Hohm Review

    Edison Power Management Review

    Using Microsoft's Energy Calculator to Improve Your Energy Conservation