Laptops Going Green

By: Paul E Steinberg

You can help the environment by making one simple decision. By going green with your computers. This is done by choosing notebooks computers that are environmentally friendly and long on charge. New "green laptops" take the idea of an environmentally friendly notebook computer even further. They are smaller than other notebooks, last longer on a charge, and comply with most environmental regulations. These ultraportble, small footprint, lighter weight notebooks are inherently "greener" than heavier, larger footprint products for a few reasons: They are designed to deliver the desired performance while consuming fewer materials for manufacturing and less energy for shipment and distribution. Packaging requirements are also reduced, saving materials and energy. Laptops don't use as much power as a desktop, mostly because the processor is only drawing about 35W or less, compared to about 65W or more for a desktop CPU. The added benefit is that your electrical bill won't be as high either.

Less Hazardous Components

Although notebooks are typically much more energy efficient than desktops. They are, however, no greener than desktops in other regards.

They typically contain the same hazardous components, and they are not easily recycled. However, a few "greener" notebook computers are now on the market.

Lenovo's Thinkpad X300 is the company's first EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) Gold certified notebook. Only 15 notebooks have achieved this rating to date. The X300 uses mercury free LEDs to illuminate its display. This saves energy, and allows for a thinner display. It uses a solid state drive, which is much lighter, more reliable and faster than a conventional hard drive. It also contains a low voltage processor and has improved "battery stretch" software for energy savings. It meets the Energy Star 4.0 criteria and is 25% more efficient than Lenovo's previous generation notebooks. The packaging materials for the X300 are 90% recyclable, and the use of toxic materials such as cadmium, lead, and arsenic have been reduced.

The MacBook Air is one of Apple's greenest computers. The Air's display was the first from Apple to be mercury and arsenic free. The all aluminum case was also a good choice as aluminum is easily recyclable and highly desirable by recyclers. The Air qualified for a Silver EPEAT rating (all the circuit boards are bromide and PVC free). It's also Energy Star 4.0 certified. On PC Magazine's energy consumption tests, the 14 Watts it produced while idle is consistent with Energy Star's 14 Watt (and under) requirement. The reading was taken while the system was running Leopard after 15 minutes of idle time. You can get the Macbook Air fitted with a 64GB solid state drive, which will further reduces its power requirements. Apple paid attention to the retail packaging of this machine, and reduced it by 50%.

Green Computing Is Here To Stay

Any way you slice it, green computing is here to stay. Laptops will get more efficient, smallerFree Articles, and safer for the planet. EPA estimates that in the next five years purchases of EPEAT registered computers could reduce hazardous waste by 4 million pounds and save enough energy to power two million homes.

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