Here are some notions on the topic that I have been tossing about.
Sorry for the long post, hope it isn't too cryptic (it is more an outline of some principles). Would welcome comments/corrections/etc.
Greenest PC is the one not gotten/produced at all
Share/borrow/reuse/use lower tech solutions
Reduce human population via humane methods like family planning. Fewer people = fewer computer users, ... "Any cause is a lost cause without family planning."
Favor second-hand (hardware and software) over new
Run older software on recentish but modest hardware.
Prefer "standard" over proprietary
Avoid over-integration (integration without standard components
or where can't keep using sub-components if one fails)
Examples of overintegration:
All in one printer/scanners - should have standard subsystems
(See lot of these being junked because either part broke).
Computer inside monitor (can you still use monitor/computer if one part fails)
DVD or VCR inside TV
Laptops - Some tout laptops as "greener" because of lower power consumption. I question this - if anything, I suspect it is the reverse. Since they are more delicate and harder to repair, use more plastic components and you can't keep part of it and upgrade other parts - seems like they may be more wasteful than a desktop machine built with standard (interchangeable) parts.
Avoid software Activation - (software integrated with particular piece of hardware)
Software tied to piece of hardware (so if hardware breaks or needs upgrading, you have to junk the software. Conversely, can't re-use the software on other hardware.)
Software tied to company servers (if they stop activating it, then it becomes garbage).
"Just say no to activation" http://www.vttoth.com/dontactivate.asp
Favor high quality components
Power supply, motherboard, media
Last longer, better support
Turn off when not using.
e.g. Use power console with real switches
Shut down when not in use (this includes servers too)
e.g. use hibernate, Wake on LAN, Wake on timer, X-10 controlled
Favor wired over (powered) wireless
Avoid battery power (Also increases security and reliability)
In general should be able to build a corded version that is more efficient than battery powered version. (Avoid losses in charging and discharging battery, also lifespan limits of battery and battery materials/recycling/etc.)
Battery powered devices should have to have an indicator of how fast they go through charges (something standard so can compare devices).
If it needs batteries - Favor Batteries that are:
Rechargeable, User replaceable, Standard (rather than proprietary/device specific)
Select system based on need
Unless know needs and software won't change, get bit more (space/speed) than need (but not cutting edge).
Undervolt/underclock to save power until need full power
Most environmental/energy cost from MFG/recycle
So worse to underestimate and have to get new system sooner than to moderately overestimate
But don't buy too far into future (may be more efficient versions later).
Avoid a low-wattage system that doesn't provide enough compute power for the job. (e.g. If system for a compute intensive task (e.g. folding), use one that gives high efficiency (high PPDPW), not just electical usage.)
Configure software to make computers last longer
(Many computers are prematurely replaced because software problems make them slow or inoperable.)
* Kill vampireware and shovelware http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... highlight=
* Design computers to preserve user's information
* Security/save users from themselves
Don't upgrade/install new software unless have to.
Favor software that maintains backward compatibility
e.g. WordPerfect over Word
Use sacrificial system for high risk activities
(Trying new software, web browsing, e-mail)
e.g. older machine, virtual machine, ...
Mandatory 10 year warranty on consumer electronics
(See my post in the radical rethink thread for more on this:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... c&start=73
Cost of recycling should be paid up front (when initially purchased), rather than at disposal time.