It will be no surprise to discover that computing equipment is now a standard feature of many UK households. But with more and more time spent on our home computers the electricity used to power our home computers doubled between 2000 and 2005, and by 2020 it is expected to increase by a further third.
Computers are not the most energy draining appliances but if you are in the market for a new computer it may be worth considering whether lower energy alternative could fulfill your needs.
According to the Energy Savings Trust, laptops run on just a third of the energy used by a desktop PC which means that apart from the COsub>2 savings, you could save over £35 a year on electricity bills by making the switch.
Compared to desktop computers the components in laptops are smaller and more efficient – requiring less electricity to run and are therefore responsible for less CO2 emissions.
With no enforceable energy rating standards within the computer industry it is not always clear whether your preferred model is as energy efficient as you would like it to be. However, the EU Energy Star is a voluntary scheme which aims to promote energy efficient office equipment, so look for products with an Energy Star rating.
The Apple MacBook Air meets the Energy Star standards for energy improved energy efficiency and a reduction in hazardous components. As well as looking the part by being ultra-thin and boasting a 13.3inch screen, 1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, an 80GB 1.8-inch hard drive and fewer hazardous components than previous models, the MacBook laptop underlines Apples commitment to improve the environmental credentials of its technology. The laptop incorporates a mercury-free LCD display with arsenic-free glass and used BFR-free material for the majority of circuit boards as well as PVC-free internal cables. It is even sold in a retail box that is 56% smaller than previous packaging, and made from 100% recycled material.
If you prefer a Microsoft Windows compatible laptop with green credentials then a HP laptop could be the choice for you. HP laptops are designed for a longer battery life and a decrease in energy consumption than other laptops. HP products are designed for reliability and upgradeability therefore extending the laptops functional lifetime, saving IT replacement costs and reducing waste.
Alternatively the Sony laptop VAIO notebooks use an LCD screen with an LED backlight, which is mercury-free and more efficient than a traditional lamp-based backlight. An ambient light sensor also automatically adjusts screen brightness to save more energy.
By opting for a laptop rather than a desktop you can feel good that you're using less energy and doing your tiny bit to cut carbon emissions.