Making sustainable choices when buying electronics is a great way to get started with sustainable computing practices. Here are a few tips for buying smart:
When looking to purchase a new product, visit the following websites and see how energy efficient various models and companies truly are.
Find energy-efficient electronics and other products using this website created by the ENERGY STAR program—a joint effort by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency & the U.S. Department of Energy to help individuals save money and protect the environment.
This program is intended for personally-owned devices. For information on disposal of university-owned technology, please visit Property Disposition for UM departments.
Most laptops are more energy-efficient than desktop models in order to conserve battery life. Using a laptop instead of a desktop can save energy.
Buy equipment calculated to last 4-5 years. Only 34% of life-cycle energy consumption occurs in the use phase; extending the lifetime could mitigate the energy burden of the production and disposal phases. (Center for Sustainable Systems Green IT Factsheet)
When shopping for computer equipment, only buy what you need. For example, if you won't be playing high-definition games on your computer, don't include a high-end graphics card. You'll save money on both the purchase and the power used.
Look for recycled content when you buy paper. Recycled paper not only reduces harvesting of trees, it also uses less energy and less water, causes less pollution and saves landfill space.
To close the loop, look for recycled materials in everything you buy. Increasingly more products are manufactured using recycled materials, which save resources and keeps materials out of the landfill. The EPEAT rating system considers both recycling and use of recycled materials when recommending environmentally-friendly electronics.