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July 22, 2011

How to: Buy a Green PC

This week’s Tech Tuesday chat (which we host every Tuesday from 12-1pm on Twitter, join us by keeping an eye on the hashtag #win7tech) was Green PCs.  We covered a lot of topics – what makes a PC “green”, how to make your PC more environmentally friendly, etc. – but the #1 question we got was “How do I make sure that my next PC is green?”   It’s a really good question, and to help answer it, I’m sharing a few of my favorite resources for hunting down the perfect energy-friendly PC.

EPEAT and the Green Electronics Council

Back in 2005, Jeff Omelchuk founded the Green Electronics Council with the goal of reducing technology’s impact on the environment.  Today, the GEC is a leading voice for environmentally friendly tech and tech practices.  For you and me and the millions of consumers just like us, the GEC’s most useful tool is EPEAT.  It’s a ranking system of sorts that assigns levels (bronze, silver, gold) to all kinds of electronics – PCs, monitors, etc. – based on their greenness in 51 categories.    Before you buy your next PC, head over to the EPEAT Registry and see if your top choices are on the list; there are over 2500 products that are EPEAT certified (1056 of those are Gold Certified consumer laptops and desktops), so you’re bound to find something you love that’s also great for the planet!

BTW, Brandon interviewed Jeff in 2009 so if you’d like to learn more about the GEC or EPEAT, read the post and get the inside story.

Energy Star

If you’ve been anywhere near an electronics store recently you’ve probably noticed the little blue “Energy Star” stickers on a number of the appliances and gadgets.  Energy Star is a US-government backed program dedicated to helping consumers save money – and protect the environment – through the use of efficient electronics.  If you’re in the market for a PC, particularly at a retail store, a quick way to check its greenness is checking if your about-to-purchase is sporting a sticker that looks like this:


They also have a detailed registry of green PCs so you can check your pending purchases online, too.