Earth-Friendly Business: A Guide to Green Computing
Is creating an earth-friendly business important to you? It not only helps the planet it also helps your finances. And the more eco-conscious you are as you begin a new business, the more of an impact you can have. Green computing and other similar strategies can put your company on the road to being in the black.
Take a look at these essentials that any new business or solopreneur should evaluate to save some cash while reducing energy needs.
Choosing a primary business computer is a central part of any small businesss green-computing strategy. Many experts say laptops are kinder to the environment because they use less power, especially if you dont plan to attach an external monitor. However, quite a few desktops have earned high marks for energy efficiency.
To start searching for your green computer, check out the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). Developed by the Green Electronics Council, this free, easy-to-use online tool helps you compare desktops, laptops and monitors based on environmental factors. EPEAT ranks items like displays, desktop computers and tablets by giving them a score of bronze, silver or gold. Think of it as the Olympics of green computing.
Features to Consider
The EPEAT employs a point system based on a number of positive criteria. Even if you skip using EPEAT and go shopping on your own, consider these factors when comparing computers:
Project Longevity/Lifecycle: This is a big one when outfitting your office. The longer a computer is designed to live, the more environmentally friendly its considered to be (youll put less in the tech landfill, in other words). But a longer life cycle is a big boost for your bottom line, too. If you dont have to replace your laptop every couple of years, you save money over time.
When determining how long a computer might last, consider the availability of replacement parts, how easily the machine can be upgraded with common tools and whether theres an extended warranty or service agreement. Also, factor some regular upkeep into your budget much like your car, a computer benefits from a bit of maintenance to keep it running strong.
Energy Conservation: Nearly every computer maker boasts energy-usage stats, but be sure to inspect the numbers carefully and do some comparison-shopping. A great resource for these types of figures is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)s Energy Star program. The Energy Star seal makes it easy to determine which desktops and laptops are the most energy-efficient. The Energy Star site also offers a download for an Excel document that helps you calculate office-equipment energy costs.
Other Technology Needs
In addition to your workhorse computer, your office will most likely be stocked with numerous peripherals that can impact your green-computing profile. Here are some tips on making eco-friendly choices for equipment like printers, copiers, monitors and servers:
Once youve done all the evaluating and purchasing for your green-computing components, make sure your company uses them as efficiently as possible by employing some strong power-management policies:
Starting a business or outfitting a one-person shop can be an exciting opportunity to make some fresh technology decisions. When evaluating what to purchase, keep a little more green in your pocket by taking the time to compare your green-computing options.