Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box
I note that your primary consideration is electricity consumption while you are using the computer. You do not appear to consider the energy consumed during manufacture - which could be considerable. It is vital to consider the lifecycle environmental effects rather than the immediately visible effects.
Furthermore, for me in New Zealand, the majority of the electricity I use is generated through hydro, so is eco-friendly. But the majority of the electricity used to manufacture a computer in China or other countries is likely to be from coal. This exacerbates the effect even more.
The best way of having an eco-friendly computer is NOT to make a new computer at all - because the manufacture of all those new "eco-friendly" components for you is not particularly eco-friendly.
For example, an LCD screen may use less electricity. But because it has used a large amount of electricity and other resources to produce, if you want to have the minimum resource consumption you'd probably be better off actually using a second-hand CRT.
The same logic goes for all other consumer products - for example, you are far better off "recycling" a second-hand car for another 10 years than buying a new hybrid - sure your fuel consumption will be lower with the hybrid, but the total lifetime resource use will be much higher. You won't look like a cool "greenie" with a snazzy hybrid, but the reality is you are probably far more eco-friendly than the hybrid driver.
The big environmental benefit of Linux is therefore that it can keep older machines running for longer.
The net result of all this is that the cheapest option is usually the most eco-friendly. This is because the cost of something is roughly a measure of the resources used to produce it. A new computer (or car) is expensive to pay for the resources used to produce it - all the electricity, raw materials, labour etc. A second-hand computer is cheap because the previous owner paid for all that and you are getting it without causing any further consumption of resources.
Therefore the cheapest option (a second-hand computer or car) is far more eco-friendly than the more expensive "green" option (a new computer or car using snazzy efficient components) - despite the old computer being noisy and using more electricity, and the old car maybe producing a bit of smoke now and then.
IBM ThinkCentre 8142 - Ubuntu 10.04
Acer emachines D620 - Ubuntu 9.04