The more we know and do, the better we all will be.



Oct 03

A 12 Step Program to a Greener Computer Experience

sheen computer

I renamed my desktop computer Charlie Sheen.

Every evening I get home from work, grab a sandwich and sit at my desktop ready to read the day’s email. I turn “Charlie” on and, reminded that things go better with Coke, I retreat to the fridge for a soft drink.

When I return, Charlie is still booting up. Trolling the internet all night for “goddesses” takes it’s toll, and he’s moving rather slowly today. It appears we’ve caught a nasty virus. Charlie is aging and some of his computer parts are becoming obsolete. Still, in the face of evidence to the contrary, he insists he’s “winning”.

While waiting for a welcome screen, I peruse the day’s mail. After getting a look at my sky-high power bill it is abundantly clear that I am “losing”.

It’s time for an intervention. A green one. Computer rehab, if you will.

The first step is to replace his old CRT monitor with a new energy efficient LCD. He threatens to shoot his motherboard. When he learns that the new LCD monitor will contain liquid crystals, suddenly he’s okay with it.

That’s just step 1 in our 12 step program to a greener computing experience. We can also:

2) Speed It Up
While a faster computer may not sound green, the fact is that the more efficient you and your computer can be, the quicker you’ll be able to switch it off and spend more time with the “goddesses”. Perform consistent maintenance and remove old junk files, clear the Recycle Bin, Recent Documents, etc.

3) Turn Everything Off
A computer left on ’round the clock costs about $75 a year to run. Try switching it off at night and you can reduce that to to just $15 a year. That won’t buy you a mansion in the Hollywood hills, but it’ll pay for your web hosting for the year.

4) Look For the Energy Star Sticker
When buying a new printer or scanner, look for the energy star logo. These products meet green standards and help promote efficient energy use.

5) Use a Power Strip
Your computer continues to draw power from the main, even when it’s been switched off. The easiest way to ensure that your computer and all it’s peripherals are completely turned off is to connect them to a power strip that you can simply switch off.

6) Go Paperless
Once we’re up and running again I’ll be contacting my bank to ask that paper statements be discontinued in lieu of digital statements. My power company enables me to receive my bills online as well, so I’ll be able to keep tabs on Charlie while saving money and reducing paper waste.

7) Print Small
If you must print, use small font sizes. The less paper used, the better.

8) Reuse and Resell
Computer cords and speakers are fairly standardized, so they can be used for a variety of computer models and makes. That makes them perfect for reuse or resale. That’s why we have e-bay.

9) Dispose of Old Hardware Responsibly
Computers contain toxic materials such as lead that can seep into the ground if disposed of improperly. Take your hardware to a recycling center. They’ll know what to do.

10) Switch to a Laptop
A typical 15″ notebook eats up much less power than a desktop, will take up much less space, and is as affordable as a desktop these days.

11) Use the Battery
It’s there for a reason. How many times have you seen people walk into a coffee shop and look for an outlet to plug into? Makes no sense.

12) Donate
One man’s junk is another’s treasure so don’t toss it, give it away. Non-profits and schools can often use what you don’t want. Don’t know who to give it to? Any of the folks listed here would love your old computer.

It doesn’t take 2 1/2 men to figure out that if we follow these steps, then everyone wins.


Richard Rossi is a guest blogger, published humor writer and children’s book illustrator from Greensboro, North Carolina. You’ll find his work at his website,


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