You may have decided to help the environment and your wallet by purchasing a new laptop with great battery life and made from recycled materials, but what about all those accessories for your new computer? Whether it’s a new laptop bag, a wireless mouse, or a way to monitor your laptop’s power consumption, accessories can have a huge impact on the world around us. The guide below highlights a few of the accessories you might not have considered when you decided to “go green.”
Eco-friendly laptop bags
When you’re shopping for a new laptop bag chances are that you’re more concerned with protection and style than the environment. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many laptop bags use some form of PVC in their construction. PVC contaminates the environment throughout its lifecycle: during its production, use, and disposal. Few consumers realize that PVC is the single most environmentally damaging of all plastics.
Targus EcoSmart Messenger
Thankfully, more laptop bag manufacturers now offer PVC-Free products. The Targus EcoSmart laptop cases are one such type of environmentally friendly bags made from recycled materials. Most importantly, the bags are well made yet are still extremely affordable. Targus continues to research and develop new techniques for delivering products that reduce the consumption of raw materials, minimize our carbon footprint and incorporate the latest eco-friendly materials and production methods. The EcoSmart notebook cases are available worldwide in a variety of styles and colors.
Long-life notebook batteries
One of the best ways to minimize your impact on the environment when it comes to laptops is to purchase an extended life battery or high-capacity battery when you order your notebook. As the name suggests, a high-capacity battery provides anywhere from 50% to 100% more battery life than a standard capacity battery. This means you’ll spend less time connected to a power outlet. Additionally, since all lithium-ion batteries lose capacity over time an extended-life battery will last longer than a standard battery.
Another way to help yourself and help the environment at the same time is to purchase a battery that is designed to last longer without decreasing in capacity over time. Boston-Power has designed a notebook battery that can keep its original capacity for up to 3 years, instead of about 1 year where most lithium-ion batteries start to decline. HP is the only manufacturer to carry these new batteries for current notebook models at the time of this writing, with the new “Enviro” batteries selling for $149.99. HP models compatible with the Boston-Power batteries are listed below:
- HP Pavilion: dv4, dv5, dv6
- HP HDX: HDX 16
- HP: G50, G60, G61, G70, G71
- Compaq Presario: CQ40, CQ45, CQ50, CQ60, CQ61, CQ70, CQ71
When you consider regular batteries start to decline over time, this saves you money from buying a replacement battery as your notebook ages, and reduces waste of more batteries entering the landfills.
Green notebook mice
While every notebook has a touchpad or pointing stick to control the cursor on the screen many laptop owners prefer to use external mice since a mouse feels more natural than a tiny touchpad. However, not all wireless mice are created equal. Some wireless travel mice are notorious for draining two AA batteries after as little as a few weeks of use. Whether you’re tossing disposable batteries in the trash or plugging in a charger for a set of rechargeable batteries, longer battery life minimizes your impact on the environment.
Logitech VX Nano
In 2007 we started to see the first wireless travel mice that made battery life a priority. The Logitech VX Nano and Kensington SlimBlade series of mice both advertised that the battery life of 6 months back with most wireless mice drained a set of batteries in a fraction of that time. Now we have travel mice like the Logitech V550 Nano that use cutting-edge power management to extend battery life out to as much as 18 months! Bottom line, be sure to do some research on battery life when shopping for a wireless mouse. A mouse that dies after a month of use is far more frustrating than a mouse that keeps running for a year and a half.
Keep an eye on your power consumption
Although notebooks consume significantly less power than a typical desktop computer, most notebooks consume a varying amount of power based on the notebook hardware configuration, settings and use. That’s why it’s important to know exactly how much wattage your laptop consumes so that you can change the settings or change the way you use your notebook. Lower power consumption isn’t just good for the environment … it’s good for your wallet as well.
P3 Kill A Watt
One of the best ways to monitor power consumption is to use a power monitoring application such as BatteryMon or purchase an electricity usage monitor such as the P3 Kill A Watt. BatteryMon let’s you see the discharge rate and capacity of your laptop’s battery so you can see how long your battery will last and change settings (such as disabling the DVD drive or turning off Bluetooth) to improve battery life. The Kill A Watt let’s you see how much electricity your laptop consumes when it’s plugged into a wall outlet, so you can see likewise change the way you use your laptop and spend less on electricity every month.
Power consumption of and the use of materials that pollute are the biggest things to watch out for when shopping for laptop accessories. By following these simple pointers you can reduce your impact on the environment and save some money all at the same time. Sure, being green helps the world we live in … but saving some green (as in cash) helps us enjoy the world as well.