Despite some of our best efforts to be green, computers are still a way of life for many of us, and with computers comes a bevy of potential eco-no-no's: toxicity, questionable recycling and energy use are just a few. Today we'll tackle a few ways to cut back on the energy it takes to fire up and use your computer.


  1. The average desktop plugs along at about 120 watts; here are some simple rules for minimizing that while you're computing.
  2. Local Cooling reads your device manager to find out what is in your computer and calculates the wattage you are consuming before tweaking the settings of your power options to help minimize energy use.
  3. EarthWatts Power Supply will help increase the efficiency of your power supply and also keeps the device cooler, so the fan is much quieter.
  4. When it comes to getting a new computer, Green Machine Shop claims that their machines exceed EPEAT and ROHS requirements, come with a take-back program, including the replacement computer, and feature power consumption up to 10 percent below the industry average.
  5. Off the shelf, the EcoSystem PC uses only 75 watts, and NEC's PowerMate Eco's processor runs cool, so it requires no fan; has low power consumption; and has no bulky boxes housing its components. Plus, their proprietary plastic is fully recyclable and uses nontoxic flame retardant.