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Your Guide to Green Computing Terms: Green Computing, Electronic Waste and Telecommuting

written by: MD Weems•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/29/2008

When it comes to green computing, there are thousands of terms that fit in. But, do you know what they all mean? Well, this series will help you learn what they all are.

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    The First Three Terms

    Green computing involves so many different areas of computers, businesses, rules, and regulations that it can make your head spin if you aren't familiar with the terms and information behind them. So, this series is to help you decipher what everything means so that you can jump right in those conversations and know what people are talking about. This first article will take you through three major terms: green computing, electronic waste, and telecommuting.

    Green Computing

    This is the practice and study of using computers and the resources that go into them better. There are many programs and regulations that are now in place to help account for the new triple bottom line, which is an expanded spectrum of criteria that helps to measure an organization's success in several different areas, including how green they are when it comes to their computer usage and waste. The goals of green computing are simple and are very similar to other green programs in that they aim to reduce the use of materials, especially the hazardous materials that go into some computers, lower the energy intake, and maximize the output for new computers, as well as help to recycle older computer parts to keep them out of landfills and other areas.

    Electronic Waste

    Now, you might hear several terms that are associated with electronic waste, such as e-waste or "WEEE" (which stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment). These are all basically the same thing, and they are all a type of waste that consists of broken or discarded computer or electrical equipment. There is recyclable electronic waste that is usually categorized as a "commodity" since there are not many facilities that take in and help recycle electronic waste. All of the different types of electrical waste are raising concerns in many areas of the world in that many countries have banned electronic waste materials from landfills as early as the 1990's. And, since the price of gold, silver, and copper is always rising, electronic waste has now become more desirable to many people around the world.


    Since this is becoming a huge boom all over the world, telecommuting has now grown into many different terms. Some of the main terms that are synonymous with telecommuting are: e-commuting, telework, working at home or WAH, working from home or WFH, and e-work. This is a deal where employees work from their homes or another working environment and have flexible hours and locations. Basically, instead of driving in their cars to work every day to an office building, they walk to their computer and sit down at home. One of the main downfalls to telecommuting is time management and self-control for those who are used to working at a specific time or punching in and out on a time clock. But, many companies are now looking to this form of work as a way to gain employees that better meet their needs and still gain the high quality of work that they need.

    In the next part of this series, we will go through three more terms that all tie into green computing: thin clients, diskless nodes, and Energy Star.