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Finding the best deals on Carbon Credits for your tech gear

Published
Green is in, so everyone is looking for ways to reduce their Carbon (CO2) Footprint. Being a company that both relies on technology and encourages others to buy it, we started looking around to see what kind of impact our everyday tech gear has on the environment. Turns out, no one thought of doing this before, not that we could find.

First, we had to find out the actual wattage draws of these electronics, both when active and when they were in sleep/standby mode. Then we based our Kilowatt-hours estimates on 8 hours of "on" time and 16 hours of standby (except for the router and modem numbers, which, since they are always on, are based on a 24-hour draw at peak power).

So, after extensive research, averaging, estimating, and number-crunching, we had our answers:

On
(Watts)
Standby
(Watts)
1 Day of Use
(Watts)
CO2 Output (in
tons) Per Year
Incandescent Bulb
60
n/a
480
0.11
Flourescent Bulb
15
n/a
120
0.03
LED Bulb
9
n/a
72
0.02
Plasma TV
310
2.8
2,525
0.56
LCD TV
199
1.1
1,610
0.36
22" LCD Monitor
56
2.8
493
0.11
Dell Laptop
62
1.7
523
0.12
Mac Laptop
72.5
1.6
605
0.13
Dell Desktop
70.8
3.0
614
0.14
Mac Desktop
250
44
2,704
0.60
Inkjet Printer
21.5
1.9
202
0.05
Laser Printer
359
4.8
2,948
0.65
Wii
18
1.3
165
0.04
Xbox 360
185
2.5
1,520
0.34
PlayStation 3
193
1.9
1,574
0.35
Cable Modem
6
n/a
144
0.03
Wireless Router
6
n/a
144
0.03

Really, any of these are a mere drop in the bucket, considering that the average person wastes 20 tons of CO2 per year. However, if Green Guilt has you in its grasp, you'll want to offset as much of these emissions as you can. And there's a unique, controversial way to do it: Carbon Credits.

How Carbon Credits works is simple: you pay a foundation or company money. They then invest your money into renewable resources and industries (wind-power, solar power, planting trees, etc). Based on your donation, you're allowed to shed the guilt of your daily CO2 output.

The following Carbon Credit companies are willing to take your cash in such a way. Because we're dealnews, and we're always looking to save money, we've included what each of them charge per 1 ton of CO2 offset.

Company
Cost to Offset
1-Ton of CO
e-bluehorizons.com
$5.00
carbonfund.org
$5.50
tist.org
$8.50
liveneutral.org
$9.00
terrapass.com
$9.90
climatetrust.org
$12.00
nativeenergy.com
$12.00
atmosclear.org
$15.00
sustainabletravelinternational.org
$36.00

Please note that some of these offsetters sell blocks of credits, and you may not be able to buy "singles" of offset credit. So, though your best bet may be e-bluehorizons.com, they only sell credits in blocks, so you're really looking to spend $50 on 10 credits ... well, that's okay, it just means you're allowed to feel less guilty about that Hummer you bought.

Jeff Somogyi is dealnews' Media Editor.

Footnotes:

  1. TV wattage reference: http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6475_7-6400401-3.html
  2. Gaming consoles wattage reference: http://www.hardcoreware.net/reviews/review-356-2.htm
  3. Router and modem reference: http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/stand-by-for-a-lesson-in-flicking-the-switch-on-electricity-leeches/2007/09/11/1189276719763.html?page=2
  4. Monitor and printer wattage was averaged from the best-selling list at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/
  5. Dell wattage references: http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/corporate/environ/vostro_200mt.pdf; http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/corporate/environ/insp_1520.pdf
  6. Mac wattage references: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=304387; http://forums.mactalk.com.au/12/46823-current-draw-when-mac-pro-2008-turned-off-2.html
  7. CO tonnage calcuated using CarbonFund.org's methods: http://www.carbonfund.org/site/pages/carbon_calculators/category/Assumptions/
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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