Green Notebook Buyer’s Guide

by Reads (3,340)

Green products are currently one the biggest growing trends for American consumers and businesses, but what does it mean to be green? In the world of computer technology green means consuming fewer resources during the manufacturing stage, using components with less impact on the environment, or using less power. Notebook manufacturers are seeing this demand for environmentally friendly products and designing systems that fit into the green segment.

In this guide we cover some of the products on the market today that excel in categories including innovative manufacturing processes, safe internal components, and lower power consumption which equal extended battery life for the consumer.

The two main industry standards that apply to notebooks are the EPEAT rating and Energy Star certification. The Energy Star 4.0 standard applies to energy requirements that include idle, sleep, and off power consumption rates. Notebook with integrated graphics must stay under 14 watts at idle, 2.4 watts in sleep mode, and 1 watt when off. Models with dedicated graphics are allowed up to 22 watts at idle, with sleep and off limits being the same as the integrated graphics models. The EPEAT rating expands the criteria out from just energy to things like end-of-life recycling, materials used, packaging, and batteries used. The EPEAT Gold rating is the highest achieved, having to meet all mandatory requirements plus 75% of the optional requirements.

Apple MacBook

Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro


Apple has gone a long way in making one of the most recognizable eco-friendly new notebooks with the latest MacBook and MacBook Pro series. The notebooks share a design that is carved out of a solid piece of aluminum to increase strength, decrease weight, and reduce waste by reclaiming all of the unused material. Harmful chemicals like mercury are also eliminated by moving to a LED-backlight system instead using cathodes as a light source. Materials used for packaging have been reduced through better shipping box designs, creating smaller boxes. These are convenient for the customer as well as Apple, since they fit more notebooks onto a shipping pallet, reducing the transportation costs. Battery life has been improved over past models by using the LED-backlit system and more efficient components. These systems carry the EPEAT Gold rating, as well as the Energy Star rating.
ASUS Eee PC 1000HE

ASUS Eee PC 1000HE


The ASUS 1000HE made our Green list through the use of a more efficient Intel Atom processor that gave this system improved battery life over other netbooks. This netbook stayed powered for 7 hours and 36 minutes during out testing, which is a huge plus for mobile users. Power efficiency which equates to long battery life is something all consumers can enjoy.
ASUS N10J

ASUS N10J


The ASUS N10J qualified for the EPEAT Gold rating as well as the EU Flower certification. The N10J made out Green list with its dedicated graphics system that shows portable users can still have fun while using less power. This netbook is the only one on the market that has a hybrid graphics system to give users the option between Intel graphics and NVIDIA 9300M graphics at the flip of a switch.
Dell Latitude E6400

Dell Latitude E6400


Dell has made strides to build systems safer for the environment through the use of non-hazardous components and more power efficient designs. The Dell E6400 is a very popular notebook throughout the business world, including some in our office, making a huge impact through the numbers of them out in the market. These systems are recycle-friendly for safe waste management and include power saving features like LED-backlighting. This notebook has an EPEAT Gold rating and is Energy Star 4.0 certified.
Gateway P-7811FX

Gateway P-7811 FX


This gaming notebook didn’t make the cut for an EPEAT Gold rating, but it did manage to get one of our highest tested battery times when compared to other gaming systems. Even though the most power efficient notebook might be a small netbook, some users want to buy something that can handle the latest games or adequately replace their desktop. This system can easily handle the tasks of most desktop systems at a fraction of the power used.
HP EliteBook 2530p

HP EliteBook 2530p


The EliteBook 2530p is a 12.1″ portable business laptop with an EPEAT Gold rating and an Energy Star certification. This system earned an Editor’s Choice award for having excellent performance, great battery life, and very good build quality. If you’re looking for something slightly larger and more powerful, the 15″ EliteBook 8530w with DreamColor display also carries the EPEAT Gold rating.
HP Mini 2140

HP Mini 2140


The HP Mini 2140 has the best build quality and best keyboard out of any netbook we have reviewed. While you are comfortably typing away on its spacious keyboard you will be happy to know it offers an EPEAT Gold rating and an Energy Star certification. This model isn’t as power efficient as other netbook models, but what it lacks in battery life it makes up with its almost full-size keyboard and solid chassis.
Lenovo ThinkPad T400

Lenovo ThinkPad T400


The Lenovo T400 is a 14.1″ business notebook offering hybrid graphics technology that let the user switch graphic card modes depending on the situation at hand. This model offers a very efficient LED-backlit display which when combined with other power friendly components allows this notebook to have almost 10 hours of runtime on battery. That time tops the charts for any other notebook in its class, making it a clear winner when it comes to power efficiency. The T400 carries the EPEAT Gold rating and the Energy Star 4.0 certification.
Lenovo ThinkPad X301

Lenovo ThinkPad X301


The X301 ThinkPad from Lenovo is the business-grade alternative to the Apple MacBook Air. This sleek 13.3″ model offers an LED-backlit screen, SSD, optical drive, extended battery life and many other essentials someone constantly on the road might need. The X301 carries both the Energy Star 4.0 certification and EPEAT Gold rating, consuming much less power than previous models.
Toshiba Satellite A355

Toshiba Satellite A350


Based off of the very popular A305, the new 16″ A350 and A355 offer the performance of a light gaming and multimedia notebook. This new notebook comes in two versions that both carry the EPEAT Gold rating, one which includes an Intel processor and the other AMD. The Intel configurations include one with integrated graphics and the other having ATI 3650 dedicated graphics. AMD fans get one version with ATI 3470 hybrid graphics with CrossFireX technology. Only the Intel model with integrated graphics carries the Energy Star 4.0 certification.

Other ways to help the environment
One alternative to buying a new notebook is to upgrade your old model. The resources that would go into a new machine don’t have to be wasted and money would be saved if your machine can still almost run the newest software. I am still running my first generation Core 2 Duo Lenovo ThinkPad T60, instead of upgrading to a newer model. It serves my needs for a wide range of tasks, including typing at work, watching HD movies at home, and surfing the web in airports while traveling. In the past couple of months after feeling the burn of high heating bills I have barely turned on my large desktop computer, and instead use my laptop paired with the WD TV media player to watch movies at a fraction of the power used of my desktop. This brought my nightly computer wattage down from 170 watts to about 30 watts, not including the television.

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