Saving energy is a good thing, especially if it helps you save money. But being green is not just about saving money. It’s also about supporting industries that decrease their environmental impact so that when you buy their products, you can decrease your environmental impact.
The computer industry has come a long way over the years and many manufacturers implement environmental policies in manufacturing, distribution and disposal. Notebook computers, which now use 90 percent less energy than their desktop counterparts, have especially benefitted from such policies. If you’re in the market for a new notebook computer, or just want a glimpse of what some manufacturers are doing these days to be green, check out our list of seven of the world’s greenest, most energy-efficient notebook computers.
The Acer TravelMate placed second out of a field of 21 notebooks when Greenpeace released its annual report on the greenest electronics on the market in 2010. The ranking was earned in part because of Acer’s policy of phasing out the use of toxic chemicals in manufacturing. The ranking also considered the TravelMate’s product lifespan, the amount of energy used in production and innovation such as LED backlight technology. The TravelMate is also ENERGY STAR–certified.
Apple MacBook Air
Apple’s MacBook Air may have gotten great reviews and wide-eyed stares for its amazingly thin design — just 0.11 inches thick at its thinnest point when closed — but it also received a Gold rating from EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) and an ENERGY STAR 5.0 certification. Additionally, recycling is a key part of the Apple sustainability plan. The MacBook Air is made of aluminum, which is easily recyclable, and manufactured without arsenic, lead, mercury or PVC.
The Asus UL30A was the top notebook on Greenpeace’s 2010 annual report on green electronics. When it comes to manufacturing, Asus emphasizes lead-free and halogen-free processes and enforces hazardous substances guidelines. The Asus UL30A sports a low-voltage processor and tools that enable users to turn off selected hardware to save energy and battery life, which earned rave reviews from critics.
Dell Latitude Series
Dell’s entire EPEAT Gold-rated Latitude series of notebooks has earned an ENERGY STAR 5.0 certification. Every notebook in the series is 100 percent recyclable as part of the company’s Asset Recovery Service and they also conform to European toxin laws, which are stricter than those in the Unites States. As a company, Dell has been making the environment a priority for years and was named the top green company of 2010 by Newsweek. Dell even uses compostable bamboo packaging.
HP Elitebook 2540p
The HP Elitebook 2540 was designed for business people on the go so it’s very light — at just over three pounds, it’s the lightest entry in the Elitebook lineup — but its also very tough. In fact, the company says it meets military standards for durability. The LED-backlit screen is a bonus, and while notebook’s standard tough-for-durability configuration may not be as energy-efficient as other models on our list, it can be custom configured to meet ENERGY STAR certifications.
Lenovo Thinkpad L Series
Like Dell’s Latitude series of notebooks, the entire Thinkpad L series by Lenovo has been awarded a Gold rating by EPEAT and has an ENERGY STAR 5.0 certification. Power settings on the notebook allow users to cut their energy use by up to an additional 40 percent. Packaging for the series is entirely recyclable and Lenovo offers disposal programs for old models that don’t put your information at risk.
Toshiba Portege R700
Toshiba may have the deepest green pedigree of any computer manufacturer on this list. By 2007, the company had received more EPEAT Gold ratings for their notebooks than any other manufacturer and they’ve continued to emphasize environmental responsibility ever since. New machines like the Portege R700 are made with recycled materials and are designed to create as little waste as possible, while old machines are salvaged and disposed of properly. But just because the Portege R700 is green doesn’t mean it skimps on features. The R700 comes with a 500 GB hard drive, an LCD-backlit screen, 2 USB ports and 8 hours worth of battery life.
Treehugger website, “9 Greenest Laptops on the Market.”
Vectren website, “Office Equipment Tips for Businesses.”