It’s a difficult line to tread, trying to be an environmentally aware citizen while at the same time being a fan of things like computers, the internet and high definition TV – all terrific stuff, but none of it very environmentally friendly. Particularly computers. We upgrade all the time, god knows how much of discarded machines are recycled, and there’s a few eco-nasty things involved in the manufacture of our beloved notebooks, desktops and ultra mobiles. And then of course there’s the energy consumption while using the devices.

So I’m pleased to be able to point you toward a device that will help you cut your power bill just a little bit while you’re on your computer. It’s called the EcoButton, which connects to your computer by USB.

In short, if you’re going to be away from your computer for a while, just punch the EcoButton, and it places your computer into full sleep mode. Upon your return just hit any key on your keyboard, and the computer wakes up. A cool little program that bundles with EcoButton will tell you how many carbon units and how much power and money you’ve saved by using the EcoButton.

System requirements

At the time of writing the EcoButton is PC-only I’m afraid. So, Windows 2000 / XP / Vista 32 and 64bit, and, even though it’s not yet listed on the EcoButton site FAQ, it is also Windows 7 compatible.

I’m just off the phone from the Australian arm of EcoButton, and the good news for Mac and Linux users, is that there will be EcoButton versions for you in early 2010.

Price and availability

The EcoButton can be picked up at Officeworks stores or at its online store, at a price of $14.87. Googling EcoButton you’ll find also find quite a few online retailers selling it.