If computers are going to help solve the sustainability crises, then they must stop being part of the problem. A study last week, for example, indicated that computer servers alone use about 1.2% of the country's electricity -- more electricity used than in the entire state of Mississippi and 19 other states.
A small Boston company, Tech Networks of Boston, is doing something about it. Last year, Tech Networks released it’s Earth-PC and Earth-Serve machines that use at least 25 percent less power than standard computers, and can save between $20-$45 in electricity costs per year. For a business, school district or organization with many computers, annual savings can easily be in the thousands.
A standard desktop computer, excluding the monitor, uses electricity roughly equivalent to a 100 watt light bulb. However, substantial waste occurs when the AC power from your outlet is converted to the DC power required for a computer. Inexpensive power supplies in most computers not only waste up to 40% of input electricity, but they also generate heat that requires additional energy for cooling. The Earth-PC uses an 80 Plus Certified power supply, guaranteed be at least 80% efficient, wasting not more than 20%.
Inefficiencies in servers are even greater, and Tech Network’s Earth Server can save $1,500 over a five-year period (see comparison here).
Tech Network not only provides a good product, but it’s a good corporate citizen. It gives discounts to non-profits and donated over $12,000 to charities in 2005. Tech Networks is also a co-founder in January 2006 of the Business Summit for a Sustainable Boston -- a network of business leaders and city officials actively working to make Boston a more livable, environmentally-friendly city.