Tips To Go Green

with your computer

Not everyone can afford to install solar panels or get a new Prius, but there is one place you can go green without spending an arm and a leg or radically changing your lifestyle: your computer. Chances are you spend the majority of your day sitting in front of the keyboard, and a few small changes can go a long way toward reducing its negative impact on the environment. As an added bonus, doing your part for the environment will save you money, too. So, we’ve rounded up a few simple ways you can go green with your computer.

Shutdown Your Computer

Obviously, computers require electricity to run, so shutting down, sleeping, or hibernating your computer when you’re not using it conserves energy. No say that shutting down your computer during night time or after business hours is the greenest and most cost saving measure.

Beware Of The Vampire Power

Many computers or monitors, even when you switch them off, can consume power from the spike strip they are connected to. Therefore always remember to turn off the power of the strips, or other connectors which you are using.

Set your computer for optimal energy use

Every modern operating system has its own settings for conserving power, so the first thing you should do — if you haven’t already — is open the power settings of your computer and set them for optimal energy use. Set your computer to put your monitor to sleep after 3 minute (take our word – if you haven’t touched your keyboard for 3 minutes, you probably are waiting in front of the coffee machine), spin down your hard drives after 5 min, and put your computer to sleep when you’re not using it. Even better, since your computer uses less power when hibernating than when sleeping, set up your computer to hibernate rather than just go to sleep.

Doing Nightly Stuff ?

Is your computer doing nightly stuff ? Don’t worry, there’s a solution for that too… Windows users should check out WinOFF, which shuts down, restarts, wakes up and hibernates your computer (among other things) after a certain amount of time, at a specific time, or when your CPU goes idle so that your computer automatically shuts off at times you don’t need it. Mac users don’t need extra software… Waking up and shutting down at scheduled times is a standard option in the Preference Pane.

Don’t believe the myths

Myth: “It’s bad to turn off the computer”…

Truth: Computers are now designed to handle 40,000 on/off cycles. This is considerably more cycles than the average user will initiate in the computer’s 5-7 year life span. On the contrary, turning your computer off helps reduce heat stress and wear on the system !

Myth: “Turning your computer off uses more energy than leaving it on.”…

Truth: The surge of power used by a CPU to boot up is far less than the energy used by the unit when left on for over 3 minutes.

Myth: “Screen savers save energy.”…

Truth: Screen savers were originally designed to help protect CRT monitors which are now technologically obsolete. Screen savers do not save energy unless they actually turn off the screen or, turn off the back light.

Myth: “Network connections are lost when a PC goes into low-power/sleep mode.”…

Truth: All computers build since 2005 are designed to be left in sleep mode and can wake up within seconds the moment a network signal is being sent to the computer (Wake on LAN).

Don’t Print

“Ecoprinting” is so 2014. Yes, you can save paper by printing duplex and yes, you can save ink by setting your printers resolution to maximum 300 dpi; Very few people can see the difference between 300 en 600 dpi, and if you print on cheap paper, 600 dpi actually looks worse. But why would you print at all ? … Get over it, and print to PDF. PDF files are a omni-present standard, and all current OS’s have a virtual PDF printer driver build-in.

If you really have to print, buy a professional, second-hand printer

Today’s consumer printers are cheap. Very cheap… And with a reason. These printers are build to break within two years (they often don’t allow the replacement of the fuser, and often wear out after only a few thousand pages) and, they cost you a fortune on toner cartridges.

In stead of buying that cheap stuff, go for a professional second-hand laser printer. GreenPC has some great HP printers on sale, which are build to do hundreds of thousands of pages before the fuser or maintenance kit needs replacement, and often do 20.000 pages on one toner. Then buy refurbished toners and fusers, and you’ll pay only half of what you would pay for that new cheap consumer printer.

Get rid of that fax

Think about it… Printing is no good, but faxing is a whole lot worse. First you print out your couple of pages, then you fiddle about 10 minutes with the fax buttons, your pages get scanned again, are send via an old-school telephone line at the painfully slow speed of 56k to that other fax, where they’re being printed out again in far worse quality. On top of that there’s quite a good chance that the receiving person will scan that document again in order to keep a digital copy. We can’t say it enough: get rid of that fax !

Turn off peripherals to kill the vampires

Now that you’ve put good energy practices into use, it’s time to move onto the power-hungry peripherals you’ve got plugged into your computer. Whenever possible, you want to turn off any peripheral when you’re not using it — like your printer, scanner or monitor. Likewise, you should be aware of any gear in your computing setup that draws standby power (a.k.a., vampire power) even when you’ve turned off the device in question. Vampires commonly stand out as large, unsightly AC adapters.

Go Smart !

While you could diligently unplug those AC adapters or keep them plugged into a power strip that you switch off when they’re not in use, you can go even further and automate the process with gadgets like Smart Saving Strips, which monitor your PC’s power state and automatically shut down other peripherals when you turn off your computer. They cost between 20 and 60€, but you’ll earn that initial investment back within less then 6 months.

Do you really need a new computer?

Your children need a new computer for school? You’re partner wants his or here own laptop? There might be a good reason for a 3rd or 4th computer in your household, but does it really needs to be that costly glossy new one?
Why not buying a refurbished computer, saving up to 60% of the purchase price, preserving the environment from another toxic piece of silicon waist, while having the same service and support as with that glossy new one.

At GreenPC you can buy a great desktop PC for 99€, and very capable laptops between 129 and 199€ (all VAT included).

Keep it mean and clean

After a couple of years of use a computer will slow down considerably. This is the time many people choose to purchase a new machine, however a simple reinstall of windows will perk up your system by doing away with unnecessary files. If you don’t want to do it yourself or don’t know how, GreenPC can assist: for a one time fee of 49€ we replace your PC with another freshly installed computer of the same type, brand and with identical specs (*limited to HP, Dell and Lenovo). Your old computer gets reinstalled by GreenPC, and passes to the following customer.

Reduce e-waste by upgrading

Your PC is regularly serviced but it still takes too long to start up, programs take forever to load, and everything seems to be getting slower – the usual response is to start shopping for a new computer. Before consigning older spec machines to obsolescence, try upgrading the components. This will not only be easier on your wallet, but on the environment as well! When older computers are performing slowly it is often only the RAM that needs upgrading. If it is more disk space you need, instead of replacing your PC, buy another larger hard disk or external hard drive. Unfortunately as much as GreenPC can successfully prolong the life of your machine, computers don’t last forever. When buying a new computer make energy efficiency a priority and look for the energy star label, the EPEAT standard, and don’t forget: recycle, recycle, recycle !

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle…

Never dispose of any electronic device by throwing it away, as the toxic waste in all electronics is substantial. GreenPC is committed to helping our customers recycle or pass on equipment to charities for refurbishment whenever possible and can also ensure that all your personal information is removed before donating or recycling. Contact us for more information.