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What Is A Green Computer? An Introduction To Green Computing

A green computer, green computing technology, or green IT system is one where the entire process from design, manufacture, use, and disposal involves as little environmental impact as possible ...

An Introduction To Green Computing

A green computer or green IT system is one where the design, manufacture, use, and disposal involves as little environmental impact as possible. This means that a green initiative is taken in consideration of all aspects of a computer’s life, from design to disposal.

In the design aspect, a green computer is created to operate without a negative environmental impact. Such design includes everything from materials and components to how the computer utilizes its power supply. These days, many desktop and laptop computers are manufactured with a sleep or hibernate mode that allows them to power down when inactive and, therefore, save on energy impact.

A green computer will also take into account how it impacts the environment during its use. One way to reduce a green computer’s usage impact is to extend its longevity. The longer a computer can last, the less impact it will have on the environment because disposal, normally the most significant green influence of the computer’s cycle, will be extended that much longer. To increase a computer’s longevity, one should look for upgrades and modularity. For example, building a brand new computer has a much larger environmental effect than building a new RAM module for replacement in that computer.

Virtualization of computers is helping to make large strides in green computing technology. Through the method of virtualization, it is now possible to operate two or more computers on the physical hardware of a single computer. In this manner, you could create the ultimate green computer; one that exists logically, but not physically. The logical units access all the material components of the physical computer, but have no physical structure themselves. This means that the environmental impact of logical computers is virtually eliminated. The perfect green computer, therefore, may lie in virtual green computing.

Terminal servers can also be used to create a greener computer. When using a terminal server, you are centrally connected to a terminal where all the computing is carried out. The operating system is experienced by the end user on the terminal. These terminals can be matched up to thin clients who depend on the server to do most of their computing. This kind of green computer can use as little as one eighth of the energy of a conventional workstation.

Some of the world's leading companies that engage in green computing by researching green technology, developing energy efficient products, using sustainable materials, offering recycling programs, and marketing a greener look and feel, include well-known brands such as:

  • Dell
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • Apple
  • Fujitsu
  • Nokia
  • LG
  • Sony
  • Motorola
  • Toshiba
  • Samsung

For more information about which companies rank as the greenest in the world, check out Greenpeace's Guide To Greener Electronics. The guide ranks the 18 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TVs and games consoles according to their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change.

One of the main challenges to successful green computing is disposal. Many computers contain harmful elements such as lead, mercury, and others. Safely recycling computer equipment has become of more and more concern in recent years. It is a good idea to consider donating your old PC to a charity or having it re-purposed for use in some other capacity.

Many times components from outdated computers can be salvaged through recycling centers. Perhaps, you can give your old computer away to someone who doesn’t have one and would be happy for your used unit.

So, now you know that green computing can be created in many ways. Everything from your existing computer, with modularity and upgrades, to virtual computers that exist only in logic, can become a green computer.

Green Computing  

Green Home Computing For Dummies - Learn how to assess your technology's green factor and make small changes with big impact. You'll also find tips for using technology in green ways and advice on getting rid of old devices in an environmentally friendly way. Learn what to buy, when to upgrade, where to find green ideas, how to recycle technology responsibly and much more.

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How To Get A Green Computer

Are you running a green computer? You might think that a computer doesn't take much power. It's just a little box. You might be surprised to learn that a desktop PC consumes 200 to 400 watts of power. Add a 30-inch monitor, and you add another 750 watts. A refrigerator only consumes around 725 watts. Surprised? Running a green computer isn't just about power consumption. The EPA warns consumers that the short lifespan of the average computer combined with the toxic chemicals used to construct parts means that the toxic effects of computer disposal are extremely high.

80 Plus Power Supplies

The first way to run a green computer is to look for an 80 Plus compliant power supply. These power supplies deliver only the power required to run. For example, if you have a 600-watt power supply but your computer requires only 250 watts to function, an 80 Plus power supply will provide 250 watts.

Most conventional power supplies provide more power than a computer needs in order to run. This wasted energy adds up to significant electrical bills, so using an energy-efficient 80 Plus power supply saves a ton of money over the course of a year. As an added bonus, 80 Plus power supplies conform to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive and contain no lead. Other manufacturers are beginning to follow suit and release green power supplies, so check the market often to see what's available.

Choose Lead-Free Components

Building a green computer is not just about choosing a green power supply. Lead and other toxic chemicals are found in nearly all computer parts manufactured in the United States, although the European Union has developed a set of regulations governing toxic materials in computer products. Intel released its first lead-free microprocessors in late 2007, followed by lead-free Ethernet adaptors. Unfortunately, many of the other manufacturers who provide computer parts to the United States have not yet followed suit, and it is still extremely difficult to build an entirely lead-free computer.

Until manufacturers make the transition to lead-free components, running a green computer means recycling the materials used in construction. Make sure you properly dispose of and recycle your lead parts. Contact your local officials or waste-management specialists to find out about recycling computers and hazardous waste disposal in your area. One great way to build a green computer is to buy refurbished or remanufactured parts and components. Instead of going to waste, those products can go to you, the consumer, at a reduced cost. You get a green computer and you save money, compared with the cost of buying new components.

Look for Green Manufacturers

With increasing calls for energy efficiency, many computer manufacturers now offer green computers with energy-efficient power supplies and energy-saving components. Computer manufacturers that advertise energy-efficient computers and laptops include Dell, Fujitsu, HP and Lenovo. Until lead-free components truly take off in the United States, the most green computer you can get is an energy-efficient model from one of these manufacturers.

Power Management

One easy way to green a computer is to use its built-in settings. Both Windows and Macintosh computers include power-management features that prompt the computer, hard drive and monitor to go into a low-energy sleep mode after a preset period of inactivity. For optimal energy efficiency, choose power-management settings of 15 minutes of inactivity or less. When you move the mouse or press any key on the computer, power-management mode is deactivated and the monitor, hard drive and computer are ready for use within a few seconds. Look for this feature on monitors as well to maximize energy savings.

Going smaller is another good way to green a computer. Laptops use significantly less energy than desktops; 40 to 50 watts compared with 200 to 400, respectively. A smaller flatscreen monitor also contributes to a green computer, since energy consumption grows rapidly with monitor size.

Look for the Energy Star

The Energy Star program run by the US government provides guidelines for power consumption of most electronics. To earn an Energy Star, a computer must offer the lowest power consumption available in sleep, standby and full-use modes. For monitors, a formula based on screen size is used to determine power consumption, but all qualifying monitors must use 2 watts of power or less in Sleep mode and 1 watt of power or less when turned off.

Looking for the Energy Star will help you choose a green computer and monitor, but you'll find a limited number of choices available. Most of the current computers and monitors available aren't eligible for the Energy Star, but manufacturers are working to lower power consumption. You may pay more up front for a green computer, but the investment will pay for itself over time in energy savings and the knowledge that you're helping to care for the environment.

About The Author: Dachary Carey. For more information on green computer, visit the technology section of Article Source: 


10 Key Steps To Green IT - Green Computing

10 Steps to Implementing Green IT

It must be pointed out that recognizing the need to adopt green IT is different from actually putting it into action. As of now, most companies, whether big or small, still do not know where to start in green computing. Untold amounts of studies have been conducted on making IT departments more environmentally friendly. As a result, the whole IT industry is replete with information on green strategies, many of which may even clash with other environment-friendly programs.

So, here is a basic 10-step guide to help you develop a more environment-friendly IT department in your company.

1. Proclaim your Green Intentions

For companies that are still confused as to where to start implementing green IT, it is always best to begin by communicating intentions to adopt an environmentally friendly IT infrastructure. The push for energy efficiency should be cascaded down to EVERY member of your staff, setting the stage for collaboration between various departments. When they learn about your initiatives, they will know that everyone needs to be involved.

You will obviously gain many more ideas on how to transform IT into a Green component of your organization. If you have already formulated a rough plan for green computing, then it would also be wise to communicate an outline of your plans and goals so that everyone will be able to do his or her part.

2. Appoint a Working Group to Ensure Compliance to Green IT

Now that you have set the ball rolling, you need to have a committee that will monitor and ensure that the company's plans are adhered to by all members of the organization. In this regard, it will be very advantageous to make this team a part of the executive board to give it muscle when performing its work. One of the most important tasks that your appointed green IT Team should focus on is the acquisition of energy efficient IT infrastructure. This team must make sure that your IT groundwork meets all the criteria that are set for the protection of the environment.

3. Measure Current Carbon Footprints Produced by IT Components

You need to know where your company stands in terms of carbon footprint brought about by your information technology services. Quickly establish a carbon footprint reference point. Check the power usage in your IT center and compare it with existing power efficiency standards and metrics for your industry.

Don't just think desktops and servers when creating an efficiency benchmark. Make it a point to also include factors like air-conditioning, lighting, and recycling of IT peripherals. You can also get a clearer picture of your overall IT carbon footprint if you determine carbon emissions that may be brought about by purchasing or disposing of all related items. You will use your benchmark in developing or fine-tuning your green IT goals to make them more realistic and attainable.

4. Plan More Centralized IT Operations

It can be relatively easy for an organization to centralize its information technology system. That's because virtualization has become widely available. With server virtualization, carbon footprints can be significantly reduced.

Just imagine the amount of carbon emissions eliminated by removing just 20 individual server CPUs in the office. You can even save more cubicle space while implementing green IT.

5. Use More Efficient Computer Applications

The software that you use can significantly affect your green computing initiatives. For instance, an employee needs to generate a report that spans 5 fiscal years. Hours can be wasted just completing this simple report. However, by using database software that allows the user to effectively customize the parameters of the report and remove any unimportant detail, your employees can finish any report in mere minutes.

By using more powerful computer applications, your IT system can better deal with any inefficiency. Besides, faster software spares your company servers from regularly operating at maximum capacity. This means lesser power consumption for your main data center. If you can only increase the speed of the computer applications that you use, you can have a corresponding positive effect on your energy use and carbon emissions.

6. Use a More Power Efficient Cooling System

Data centers and IT departments are known for big energy-guzzling air conditioning systems. Servers need to be maintained in cool temperature levels at all times. Your computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units also ensure that air is efficiently distributed to prevent humidity from developing in your network or data center. But the problem is that most CRACs available today are designed to work for the entire floor area of data centers. Hence, they consume more energy than necessary.

To reduce your CRAC power consumption for green computing, you can invest in supplemental cooling systems that can be placed in between the rows of servers in your data center. Such cooling systems can directly prevent excessive heating in specific rows of servers. Thus, they can minimize the number of times in a day that the bigger CRAC units are required to work on full power. Apply new Data-Center design technology that minimizes hot-zones.

7. Carefully Weigh Lifecycle of IT Devices and Accessories

Now that the whole world is clamoring for more environmentally friendly products, it is easy for any company to find IT devices and accessories that are suitable for green computing. But before you jump in the bandwagon and invest in the latest green IT products, you must first take into account the projected lifecycle of your existing IT hardware. Can it be recycled? Will it decay in time? If not, then disposing of your existing hardware can far outweigh the environmental benefits that you intend to achieve by buying newer more power-efficient computer hardware.

8. Make Sure Green IT Policies Enhance Business Performance

By implementing green computing initiatives, you will become a contributor to the bigger goal of saving the planet. But you must also consider the needs of your business when putting environmentally friendly initiatives in action. Make sure that your drive for a green IT fits in your overall business operation. Better yet, ensure that environment-friendly IT and your business goals complement each other. By doing so, you will be able to achieve both your green policies and your bottom line goals.

9. Work with Everyone Involved in Your IT Process Lifecycle

Now that you have taken the steps to ensure that your company uses green IT, you need to get everyone involved in your initiative. For your employees, make sure that all of them are made accountable for their adherence to green computing policies. Your human resources department can support your initiatives by regularly posting announcements and notices that touch on the subject of environment-friendly computing. Let everyone know about your goals and the steps that needed to be taken to ensure that your organization maintains green ways of using computer systems.

Make it a key point to engage software and hardware vendors and gain insight from them on making your infrastructure safe for the environment. Ask them for products that help you move toward a more Green IT environment.

10. Monitor Results and Continue Optimizing Your IT

Lastly, you should always check the results of your green IT initiatives. Compare this data with the benchmarks and metrics that you have set for your company. A good example is checking your total power consumption for each month. If it has significantly dropped, then you can say that you have effectively reduced your organization's carbon footprint. If you see that you have achieved your goals, check your IT system to find more areas where you can improve environmental friendliness. Never rest on your laurels, continue to optimize your IT systems.

In the end, always remember that the way to a more efficient and green computing does not have to entail huge investment costs on your part. Many environmentally friendly steps are easy to implement and you do not even have to wait for years to reap the benefits.

About the author: Copyright (c) 2009 Jack Lesley Jr. Jack Lesley is a 22 year veteran in Information Technology and the acting CIO of Secure-Firm, based in Houston, Texas. Jack lives with his wife, Sandra and his son, Brint. To contact Jack, please go to the main page at []. Jack's LinkedIn page is at Source:

More information and resources on green computing ...

Green Computing For Organizations And Individuals

Green computing is a rising trend that looks to establish itself as the preferred IT philosophy -- not because techies are tree-huggers, but because green solutions are affecting their bottom lines. Many businesses today are asking the questions: "What is it?" and "Why is it so important to society?''

What is Green Computing? 

Today, the term embodies the entire life cycle of technologies, including research, manufacturing, use, and disposal. Green IT takes a much more holistic approach than it once did, especially as companies are brainstorming solutions to cut costs and increase revenue.

Why is Green Computing Important?

Green computing benefits the environment. Reduced energy usage from green techniques translates into lower carbon dioxide emissions, stemming from a reduction in the fossil fuel used in power plants and transportation. Conserving resources means less energy is required to produce, use, and dispose of products. Put simply, saving energy and resources saves money.

The advantages of green technology are realized on both large and small scales. Green technologies are available for an entire organization or for a single employee's workstation. Unfortunately, many companies and business owners are stalled by the initially larger investment in green technology, and fail to realize the long-term benefits and cost savings. As such, let's examine adjustments that can be made regarding green computing and IT support, big or small.

System-Wide Green Computing

When investigating green alternatives for your entire organization, consider technologies like cloud computing. Basically, cloud computing eliminates the need for hardware like servers. Also known as virtualization, cloud computing replaces hardware with "virtual" servers or servers in "the cloud." Essentially, cloud computing allows companies to reduce their need for big, bulky, energy-consuming servers by relocating them on the Internet. Cloud computing may also be used in areas like networking, data storage, software applications, and operating systems, again, potentially reducing the need for hardware. As a result, businesses stand to save a lot of time, money, and resources on maintenance and support by switching to cloud computing set-ups.

Individual Green Computing
There are many other techniques at the personal computer level. For instance, power management can be an easy and effective means of saving green while conserving energy. While many operating systems come with power-saving settings, there are also a variety of products that monitor and adjust energy levels to increase performance and reduce wasted energy. For instance, some surge protectors can sense when a master component (like a computer) is turned off, and respond by cutting off power to any peripheral machines, such as like printers and scanners.

System-Wide and Individual Green Computing

Finally, green computing initiatives can reap savings in both big and small ways. Technologies that save paper, like email, can have a huge impact on costs as well as the environment. As companies and employees develop methods and habits of conservation, simple practices like emailing memos or printing in smaller fonts can bring instant results. Additionally, policies like telecommuting or teleconferences pose additional benefits by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide produced by travel.

Green IT is quickly emerging as the most effective means of utilizing technology. No matter whether your organization's needs are big or small, green IT can reduce costs, increase productivity, and even do something good for the environment.

About The Author: ~Richard McNeal, 2009. Ascensha knows that green computing in Portland is just one topic small business owners have questions about when it comes to IT help. Contact Ascensha, an Oregon IT services company to get your questions answered by established local experts. Article Source:


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