Nearly everyone has a home office, even if it’s just a computer and printer sitting in the corner of the bedroom. And while the equipment may be tucked inconspicuously out of the way, the power that it uses is not insignificant.
A desktop PC can draw 200 watts of power while in use, as well as kick out a fair amount of heat. So one trick is to make sure that you set the home computer to go into standby or hibernate mode when it’s not in use. That can save $25 to $75 a year. Better still, consider getting a more energy efficient model when you upgrade. Just buying a smaller computer can even make a difference.
Windows users will find models such as the Lenovo ThinkCentre M57 Eco (around $884, depending on options) and the complimentary ThinkVision L197 Wide monitor ($240). The M57 uses between 67 and 74 watts and meets several environmental standards including, GreenGuard Air Quality certification, which means it has very low volatile organic component emissions (VOCs). The system also is Energy Star compliant and meets the more demanding European EPEAT standard for reduced use of toxic materials and energy efficiency; lenovo.com/us.
Of course, even models that don’t come with all the certifications can reduce your carbon footprint. The Apple Mac Mini ($600 to $800 depending on options) has a reduced environmental footprint simply due to its reduced physical footprint. About the size of a hardcover book, the machine is 90 percent recyclable and uses between 20 to 41 watts of power; apple.com.
Smaller still in terms of energy use are laptops, which have the added benefit that you can take them with you on the road. Many models now use Intel's Core 2 Duo Processor, which delivers up to 40 percent more performance than the previous generation of processors, while using 40 percent less power. Fujitsu’s LifeBook S6510 (starting at $1,429) is one example. It’s EPEAT and Energy Star rated, uses between 14 and 20 watts of power when plugged in, and weighs just 4 pounds; fujitsu.com/us
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