Earth Day Feature: 5 Steps to a Greener PC


It's hardly news that personal computing has grown wildly in the past decade.  So much so that some of us (myself included) can barely remember what life was like before e-mail, instant messaging, 24 hour internet news, telecommuting and viral videos of sneezing pandas and laughing infants.  This technology has done wonders in keeping us more connected, informed, and entertained, but these conveniences come at a cost.  Energy consumption associated with personal computing has skyrocketed, and trading in your older computer for the latest technology can have environmental consequences if not handled correctly.

Not to worry. Today is Earth Day, and in the spirit of the holiday, we are happy to present you with a few tips that will help make your computer usage greener and more energy efficient.    

  1. Be Energy Smart:  Set the Power Options on your computer to switch to sleep mode when it's not active. You can find the power options settings in your PC's Control Panel.  When you're going to be away from your PC for more than a few minutes, set it to stand-by mode and turn off the monitor.  You'd be surprised at the amount of energy saved by this simple act.
  2. Go Flat:  Flat panel monitors use less energy than traditional CRT monitors. In fact, every flat panel monitor we sell meets the EPA's new stricter Energy Star 4.0 guidelines. And skip the screen savers. They contribute to energy waste by preventing a monitor from entering stand-by mode.
  3. Print Wisely:  Print only what you need and use recycled content paper whenever possible. Most printers today have a two-sided printing option which can dramatically reduce your paper consumption. Be sure to recycle used ink and toner cartridges. Dell includes a prepaid envelope in every ink and toner cartridge sold. Simply drop it in any mailbox and we'll take care of the rest.
  4. Reuse and RecycleDell offers an array of convenient options to recycle or donate your used technology. We've also joined Goodwill to form the Reconnect program in several US cities, making recycling your PC as easy as a trip to local Goodwills.  From free recycling on all Dell consumer products to donation programs that benefit the people in your own community, we make it easy to be green.
  5. Offset the Rest:  Once you've reduced your energy use where you can, support carbon offset projects such as reforestation that counter CO2 emissions. Dell has partnered with The Conservation Fund and Foundation, two nonprofit organizations dedicated to reducing carbon emissions and the effects of climate change, to launch the Plant a Tree for Me program.

Each one of these steps can do wonders to reduce your energy consumption and CO2 emissions associated with personal computing, but if done in concert with each other, the results are staggering.  The beauty of these tips and the more general recommendations from me reducing energy consumption is that greening your lifestyle needn't require huge changes or a lot of money to have a noticeable effect on your community and pocketbook. 

If you want to think green for more than just one day a year, I invite you to join the ReGeneration. To do so, look for this image on the right hand section of the site. Clicking on the image below will take you to the main page:

This Earth Day, let's all make an effort to make these simple adjustments to our daily PC usage.  The tasks are so simple, but the stakes are high.

Happy Earth Day!  

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  • Anonymous

    Lately Dell has been showing a green face to the public. But is it all just marketing? Why is Dell still shipping thumbdrives in massive boxes?


  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    So you would prefer that Dell produce 500 different types of boxes to cover every single package scenario? How much would that cost the environment in wasteful box manufacturing?

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    human concerned: We saw the both the Consumerist posts and the Gizmodo post you referenced and are indeed looking into both of them. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Todd Dwyer,

    Your article is itself a proof that how much you are concern for the earth. Really, it's nice to read all 5 Steps to a Greener PC like stand by mode of monitor, flat monitor,recycle print page,reuse of paper,planting a tree all these are very useful features to protect our earth. It may be look like very small effort but if we all can apply it then we will make better the earth and even more beautiful. As we know "One is the mother of ten thousand".

    I will also support you by applying these or even more feature to save our beautiful earth.

    Vaibhav Pandey
    India’s one and only end to end CISCO based IP network.