Green Computing

Last updated: August 16, 2022

How You Can Help the UW Go Green

Recycle Wisely
Older hardware consumes much more power than newer technologies. Upgrade when you can and take care in how you recycle your old equipment. Computers often contain dangerous chemicals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic that must be disposed of properly. Here are some ways you can recycle your old gear:

  • UW computers and other electronics hardware can be turned over to UW Surplus Property.
  • Personal property can be dropped off at businesses participating in the E-Cycle Washington program, which provides recycling of computers, monitors, laptops, and televisions, often at no charge. Information about participating businesses in Washington State is available at the Recycle Hotline site or by calling 1-800-RECYCLE.
Buy Green
Select computers and other electronics with attention to their environmental impact. Two programs can provide you with good background and information on how to make your choice.

  • EPEAT system for evaluating and comparing environmental attributes of desktops, laptops, and monitors
  • ENERGY STAR Computers describes Energy Star criteria and offers lists of products that qualify for the EnergyStar rating, including computers
Be Energy Smart
You can take these steps to cut down on the energy consumption of your computer and its peripherals:

  • Power consumption settings for your computer are in the following locations:
    • On Windows, go to Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Power Options
    • On Macs, go to Apple -> System Preferences -> Energy Saver
  • Encourage your computer to sleep when not being used. Review the Power Options for your computer (Energy Saver preferences on Macs). Shortening the time before your computer goes to sleep (which usually includes powering down the hard disk and turning off the monitor) can save power.
  • Optimize your computer for better energy use when you are using it. Often settings that reduce power consumption are quite adequate for doing your work. See your computer or operating system instruction manual.
Go Flat
Flat monitors (especially LCD screens) use less energy than conventional tube monitors, provided you do not get too big a monitor. Very large monitors can consume a great deal of power, often much more than the computer and all its peripherals combined.
Print Wisely
Review your policies and procedures for their effect on printing. In some cases you are required to print and retain documents. On the other hand, often documents are printed for only brief use, such as to pass around at a meeting.

  • Print only what you need
  • Print on both sides
  • Use recycled paper
Conference Without Travel
Why journey to distant places when you can participate in conferences and have discussions from your computer?

  • A variety of voice and video conferencing services are available here at the UW.
  • Many scientific, academic, and professional organizations now hold virtual conferences, often with features not available at in-person gatherings (such as immediately available audio and video of presentations).
Power Down
Explore ways to shut down equipment when not in use:

  • Talk to your manager before making a practice of turning off your computer when not in use. Many computers are centrally managed and require that the computer be left on to receive updates, even when the user is logged out.
  • Many devices consume power even when turned off (such as a TV/monitor that stays awake enough to sense a signal from a remote control). Review the instructions for such devices to see what power management options they have, or just unplug them when not in use.
  • Peripherals like printers and scanners can be put on separate power strips, making it easy to turn them off when not in use.
  • Power consumption monitors (for example, the Blueline Energy Monitor) can be useful for understanding just how much power you and others in your office are using and can help as you experiment with ways to reduce your power consumption.
Think Virtual
Many services are now available out on the Internet, giving you an alternative to acquiring hardware and software and setting up the service locally. In many cases the companies providing such services are using very energy efficient methods.

  • When considering virtual services, review the vendor’s record and policy on resource consumption.

ENERGY STAR and EPEAT Compliant Computer Packages

eProcurement now offers ENERGY STAR and EPEAT compliant HP computer packages for purchase on UW budget numbers or with UW Procards. To see the available packages, take the following steps:

  1. StepsActions
  2. Go to the eProcurement Web site
  3. eProcurement LogoClick on the Access eProcurement logo. The Procurement Dashboard will appear.
  4. In the Search box, and click on CDW Government.
  5. Click on the Buy from Supplier button to see the list of products available through CDW.
  6. Scroll down to the UW Preconfigured Desktops, Laptops, Workstations, and Monitors section.
  7. Click on the category of hardware you are interested in.
  8. Click on the package that interests you and then on the Product Overview link. The energy and environmental standards rating will be in a box on the right side of the Product Overview.

The University Bookstore Tech Center offers ENERGY STAR compliant computers for students, faculty and staff.

Going Green at the UW

Many people are working to help make the UW greener.