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Widgets for green computing


29 September 2009

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Google and Hewlett-Packard are providing widgets that will help to cut computing carbon footprint. By installing these new softwares, users can optimise their machines’ energy management settings and make them more efficient.

With a heightened awareness of the environment and an increased urgency to address climate change, people are looking to all areas of their lives to reduce their carbon footprint.

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Image credits: iTechnoMax/ Hewlett-Packard has launched its Power to Change scheme desktop widget

Computers and the internet have come under fire from green groups for their contributions to carbon emissions.

Environmental groups have even criticised Google for the carbon cost of every internet search made via the search engine. But to put this in context, estimates from the London-based Climate Group found in its Smart 2020 report that computers account for about 2% of total global emissions.

By 2020, with more people owning computers, mobile phones and other gadgets, that percentage will rise to about 6%, according to the same report.

The good news is that in the past decade, computers have not only become smaller, faster and cheaper, but also much more energy-efficient. The cost of electricity and the demand for longer battery life for laptops and portable devices have been driving companies to increase the energy efficiency of electronics.

You can do a lot these days to build not only a very fast but also very efficient computer. You can choose energy efficient chips, energy efficient hard drives and power supplies with the 80 Plus efficiency rating.

Google and Hewlett-Packard are now getting involved by providing widgets to help you monitor the energy consumption of your computer and change your habits to cut your computing carbon footprint.

Google employees have created a software "gadget" that will enable and optimise your computer's energy management settings. (You'll need to have Google Desktop installed to use it.)

Hewlett-Packard has launched its Power to Change scheme with a downloadable Adobe Air widget that reminds you to turn off your computer if you aren't using it. The site says that more than 23,000 people have joined the campaign.

These may be small steps, but the energy monitors help you understand your contributions to cut your carbon footprint.

 
Source : Guardian

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