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.

From the design aspect, a green computer is created to perform without a negative environmental impact. Such design encompasses everything from materials and components to how the computer utilizes its power supply. These days, most computers are built with a sleep or hibernate mode that allows them to power down when not being used and, therefore, save on energy impact.

A green computer will also take into account the impact it has on the environment during its life. One option to make a green computer reduce its usage impact is to extend its longevity. The longer a computer can last, the less effect it will have on the environment because disposal, probably the most significant green influence of the computer’s cycle, will be extended for a longer period of time. To increase a computer’s longevity, we suggest looking toward upgrades and modularity. For example, building a brand new computer results in a significantly larger environmental effect than building a new RAM module for replacement in computing equipment.

Virtualization of computers is helping to make large strides in green computer 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 utilize all the material components of the physical computer, but are devoid of physical structure themselves. This means that the environmental impact of logical computers is virtually eliminated. The perfect green computer, therefore, may lie in the virtual computer.

Terminal servers can also be used to create a green computer. When using a terminal server, you are connected to a central terminal where all the computing is done. 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 sort of green computing setup 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:

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

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

Often parts from outdated computers can be salvaged through recycling centres.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

So, we have learned that a green computer can be created in many ways. Everything from your existing computer, with upgrades and modularity, to virtual computers that exist purely in logic, can be a green computer.

If you are interested in learning more about ways to go green, save money and help the planet, go here to receive a FREE green living tip delivered to your email inbox daily: Green Living Tips


Julie Warner
Author: Julie Warner

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