E-waste ready to be loaded into a container for recycling in Brisbane.
E-waste ready to be loaded into a container for recycling in Brisbane.

What is sustainable computing?

The core idea of sustainability is that current generations should meet their own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

Sustainable computing is a principle that embraces a range of policies, procedures, programs, and attitudes that run the length and breadth of any use of information technologies.

It is a holistic approach that stretches from power to waste to purchasing to education and is a life-cycle management approach to the deployment of IT across an organisation.

The concept of sustainable computing considers total cost of ownership, the total impact, and the total benefit of technology systems.

Cornell University Faculty Services advises the following to increase computing sustainability:

• The biggest thing is turning off all equipment when you leave for the day – computers, monitors, copiers, printers, fax machines, etc.

Turning off peripherals when not in use can reduce daily energy usage by 6.7%.

Turning off monitors when not in use can reduce daily energy usage by 24.5%.

Turning off computers when not in use can reduce daily energy usage by 62.3%.

• Print in economy mode when you can – this saves toner by printing lighter on paper.

• Print duplex – this saves paper.

• Change your default margins in MS Word. The current margin default settings of 1.25" left/right and 1" top/bottom eat up a lot of usable document space.

• Review your document on the screen instead of printing a draft. If you must print a draft, use the blank back side of used sheets.

• The best screen saver is no screen saver at all. Turn off your monitor when you are not using it.

• Only buy a monitor as large as you really need. A 19-inch monitor uses 40% more energy than a 17-inch monitor. The higher the resolution you buy, the more energy it needs.

• Turn off computers and appliances (like air conditioners, televisions, radios) when not in use.

• Use recycled paper.


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