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Bono's A Fake, But The Green Is Real

Maybe it's the change to DST, maybe it's the fake Bono sightings in Boston, maybe it's the approaching St. Patrick's Day festivities, but something green is afoot.
Maybe it's the change to DST, maybe it's the fake Bono sightings in Boston, maybe it's the approaching St. Patrick's Day festivities, but something green is afoot.Even Wal-Mart is getting in on the action. This week the behemoth retailer announced goals to sell sustainable electronics.

Beginning next year, Wal-Mart will assess the sustainability of electronics based on energy efficiency, durability, upgradability, end-of-life solutions, and the size of the package containing the product. Products will also be evaluated on their ability to use innovative materials that reduce the amount of hazardous substances.

No doubt Wal-Mart's shelves will eventually be stocked by greener PCs, perhaps like the trio of Compaq PCs Hewlett-Packard announced Monday. HP said configuring the PCs with energy-efficient power supplies and other Energy Star hardware requirements could reduce total system power consumption by as much as 52%.

The Compaq PCs are built around Intel's power-saving Core 2 Duo processor. And just this week Intel unveiled a pair of low-voltage Xeon chips. The quad-core duo consume just 50 watts under peak load, the company claims. That's between 35% and nearly 60% less power than its existing 80-watt and 120-watt quad-core server products.

Not to be outdone, last month rival AMD announced its Athlon 64 X2 6000+, a dual-core processor made to power high-quality graphics, video, and security on Windows Vista. AMD is also working on a quad-core chip of its own called Barcelona. It promises to sip politely rather than guzzle power when it's released later this year.

What should green computing mean to you as an IT pro? As an individual? Whether you accept that the planet is warming or deny that climates are changing , you're likely to agree that smaller utility bills are appealing.

When you're ready to spring for a new PC, find one that's greener. The greenest one I could find is the $100 laptop developed by the One Laptop Per Child Initiative. It's not for sale to the public yet, but it may be someday.

Dell is also in the green game, and there will be more choices as demand grows and as the Department of Energy's Energy Star specs are redrawn in the coming months. If you're handy and can't wait, you could always build your own green PC.

When you do upgrade, remember to recycle your existing clunker. Most major PC vendors -- including Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba -- have recycling programs.

Now that's something the real Bono could get behind. Maybe doppleganger Pavel Sfera could, too.

Cora Nucci is editor of Small Biz Resource.