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Upgrade to a Greener Computer

Time to upgrade your company's computers? By choosing a "green" computer, you can reduce your energy use and help the environment, too. Here's how:

Look for Energy Star Certification

Score a double whammy by selecting an energy-efficient computer. You'll save some dough on your electric bill and reduce your company's carbon footprint .

To find an energy-efficient computer, look for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star label or visit the Energy Star Web site for a list of approved products. Energy Star-certified computers use 20% to 50% less energy than non-Energy Star products; Energy Star monitors use 20% to 60% less energy than their conventional counterparts.

Seek EPEAT-Registered Products

There's more to green computing than energy efficiency. In order to assess a computer's impact on the environment, EPEAT, or the Electronics Products Assessment Tool, gives computers and monitors a gold, silver or bronze rating based on 51 criteria (23 of which are required for EPEAT registration) in eight categories: toxics reduction, recycled content, energy efficiency, ease of recycling, product longevity, company environmental performance, packaging and product takeback and recycling.

All EPEAT products must meet Energy Star standards and be at least 65% reusable or recyclable. Manufacturers of EPEAT products must offer take-back programs to collect and properly reuse or recycle the product at the end of its life. And EPEAT products must comply with the European Union's ROHS directive, which limits the amount of mercury, lead, cadmium and other toxic materials allowed in electronics.

Consider the Cost

Believe it or not, prices of EPEAT-registered computers and monitors are comparable to those of conventional products. Plus, EPEAT products will save you money since they have a longer life span, are easier to upgrade and are more energy efficient than unregistered products. To calculate the impact -- both financially and environmentally -- of upgrading to EPEAT-registered equipment, check out the Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator .

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