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Just What Is A Green Computer?

The sheer number of computers in the world today means that their environmental impact is significant in terms of manufacturing, use and disposal.


As a rule, computers with better energy efficiency and lower power consumption will also have longer lives

As a rule, computers with better energy efficiency and lower power consumption will also have longer lives (Photo: Argonne National Laboratory)

After considerable research on what makes a computer ‘green’ the conclusion is that computers are not ‘green’, or to be more accurate, are not environmentally sound. The manufacturing of computers is not an environmentally friendly process, and according toWorldometer, a staggering total of over 200 million computers are sold each year. Forrester Research estimates that whereas it took 27 years to reach the one billion mark, it will take only seven years to grow from 1 billion to 2 billion computers in use worldwide by 2015.

However, if you really want a green(er) computer, the right information is not always easy to find on retail websites, and you’ll probably need to go directly to the website of manufacturers like Acer, HP, IBM, etc to find the environmental details for their products and their environmental policies. For example, VeryPC is a company doing their utmost to carbon offset and reduce the amount of embodied carbon in their products. Based in Sheffield, they use locally recycled steel and aluminium extracted from Iceland using renewable energy sources, with the end product manufactured locally.

As a rule, computers with better energy efficiency and lower power consumption will also have longer lives because waste heat causes greater wear on the internal components and reduces the lifespan of the product.


Green computing pointers

If you are serious about green computing, here are some things to look for:

  • The Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics - ranks the 18 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones and consumer electronics according to their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change.
  • Energy Star compliance–an international standard for energy efficient consumer products. Devices carrying the Energy Star logo, such as computer products, generally use less energy than required by standards.
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) - WEEE sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for electrical goods and is part of initiatives to reduce toxic electronic waste.
  • Restriction of Hazardous Substances– this directive restricts the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of electronic and electrical equipment.
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive(WEEE) - WEEE sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for electrical goods and is part of initiatives to reduce toxic electronic waste.
  • IT ECO Declarations - (otherwise known as Standard ECMA-370 for ICT and CE products- provides information on the environmental attributes of the product and the company’s environmental profile in an industry standard format.
  • End of life recycling - given the push for energy efficiency and other “green” initiatives, many companies like IBM and Phillips are focusing their equipment recycling efforts.
  • Embodied energy and carbon - look for products with the lowest total embodied carbon value possible as this refers to the energy consumed during resource extraction, transportation and manufacturing of a product.


In conclusion

It is not easy being ‘green’ and the more people that insist on greener technology options, then the more manufacturers will make it easier to purchase green products.

Webmaster / 4 June 2014

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Webmaster / 4 June 2014

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