For some time now Apple has produced some fairly energy efficient small computer models. Dell has just introduced its Studio Line, initially aimed at the home computer market but it is expected that similar computers will be introduced in their business lines very shortly. The Studio Line is a very small footprint computer that uses 70% less energy than one of their already energy efficient Inspiron and Vostro models.
It is hoped, that if these prove popular, that other manufacturers will follow suit as well. With the physical demands that more people, computers and electrical devices place on the energy grid, it is essential that everyone give consideration to these factors when making a purchase. More energy efficient devices do occasionally cost a little more but routinely pay for themselves in reduced electrical bills over time. Like compact fluorescents in your home, collectively, small changes can make a big difference to your bottom line.
Personally and professionally, we all stand to benefit† by reducing energy consumption. We can continue to pay 50 cents for a regular light bulb or 3 dollars for a compact fluorescent and save 10 dollars in electrical charges. Itís difficult to argue with the logic of such simple changes but where up front money is involved it may ultimately require legislation to ban inefficiency.
Computers have recently reached an apparent threshold in overall speed. This has something of a green effect in itself as computers generally do not have to be replaced nearly as often. If you purchase a good quality computer it should last at least 5 or more years. In more corrosive environments in manufacturing plants computers can be protected in sealed units and inexpensive protectants can be sprayed over exposed metal parts to lessen corrosion. If you can lengthen the effective life of a computer, then less money, energy and manpower are required to ultimately replace one.
Newer computers also have some degree of built in energy conservation and go into relative sleep modes when not in active use. This should not be used however as a substitute for turning off units that will not be used overnight or on week-ends. If your computer must stay on for some reason, you can still turn off the monitor to save some energy while you are away.
Speakers, printers and assorted optional devices are often neglected by even those who routinely turn off their computers at night. A good surge protector can† protect your equipment and provide a simple means to fully power off all of your associated equipment at the same time. Any energy saved reduces your expenses.
GREEN COMPUTER OPERATIONS
The three Rís of waste reduction are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. These appear in the order of their effectiveness. If we reduce unnecessary purchases, packaging and the like, there is less waste to deal with. If we can reuse or recycle something without throwing it out waste is ultimately reduced as well.
The same principals hold true in business and computer operations and apply to both waste reduction and to reduced day to day expenses. I will examine a number of examples that apply to each of the three Rís as they relate to computers & operations.
- purchase only equipment you need and purchase good quality that wonít need to be replaced tomorrow.
- when it comes to printers and toners, consider the volume of printing you do and pick the most cost effective option. A more expensive printer and high capacity toner can reduce waste and save you money.
- print reports to the screen where you donít need a hard copy. Consider duplexing to reduce paper costs and filing space. Run Libra reports at 8 lines per inch and 80 lines per page to reduce paper usage by 25%.
- protect equipment in corrosive environments so it lasts longer, reducing waste and unnecessary costs.
- when someone gets a new computer, consider a tune up or upgrade for the old computer to pass it on to someone who needs less processing power.
- if you have to rerun reports consider reusing the old reports for notepads or shred them to use as packing material for shipments.
- many companies refill toner cartridges, so save them and a variety of companies, including HP, will pick them up even if you prefer to use original cartridges.
- save common parts from computers. These may be used to repair other computers. Disk drives, Memory, Network and Video cards may be removed and stored.
- computers contain a lot of scrap metal that can be recycled. If you prefer we can even recycle old computers for you, but we prefer to do it during a visit.