3 environmentally-friendly practices we can adopt in 2015

In commemoration of Earth Day 2015, here are three areas where we can develop more environmentally-friendly behaviour.

Earth Day was celebrated this past Wednesday, 22 April, and is a time to reflect and promote our global, and local, environment. Currently, there are numerous environment-related issues vying for attention, such as carbon emissions, global warming, climate change, energy efficiency, and the greening/re-greening of cities, to name a few. From an ICT/tech perspective, below are three areas in which we, individually, could be doing more to protect our planet.

Tablets are more energy efficient than laptops

Though it might be no surprise, tablet computers are more energy efficient than laptops and PCs. In an example given by Clean Technica, a typical low-power desktop PC consumes about 40W, but a tablet consumes less power – about a tenth of that used by a PC – resulting in considerably lower energy costs.

Generally, a laptop/notebook consumes around 15W with moderate use, which although less than half that of a PC, the tablet is still more energy efficient. Further, noting the broad ranges of tablets that are available on the market today, it is entirely possible that for many individuals, they can do most of their tasks on a tablet, and only occasionally might need to have access to the processing power of a laptop or PC.

More environmentally-friendly devices

As discussed in a few of our earlier articles, such as Where do our electronic devices go to die?, to get the aesthetics and performance we expect from electronic devices, to varying degrees, they are all constructed using materials that are not only harmful to the environment, but also to plant and animal life. However, increasingly, device manufacturers are trying to reduce the amount of harmful material used. For example, Apple recent launched a new MacBook, which it has sought to make not only energy-efficient, but also more environmentally friendly, especially at end of life, by among other things:

  • using mercury‑free display and arsenic-free display glass
  • ensuring that the device is brominated flame retardant (BFR)-free, polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-free, and beryllium-free
  • using a highly recyclable aluminium enclosure, and
  • ensuring that it meets ENERGY STAR Version 6.1 requirements (Source: Apple).

Hence, to the extent permissible, it is hoped that the efforts of manufacturers to better clean up their products will be considered when next you are purchasing a new device.

Better awareness and informed decision making

Finally, to better incorporate environmentally-friendly behaviour into our lives, we all need to be more aware of the impact of our behaviour and lifestyle on the planet, and perhaps more selfishly, our own bottom-line. There are a number of apps on the market that can help. Examples include the following:

  • MyEarth app – Developed at the University of Wisconsin (Madison), this app uses a simple diary format to track energy usage and savings.
  • Battery Doctor (Battery Saver) – a highly popular and free app that give users real-time power consumption data, effective battery protection, and accurately estimates power levels and available time, and more.


Image credit:  Wikipedia