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Green computing works, says report

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Non profit Green Electronics Council (GEC) put out a report today that suggests its eco-computing initiatives are starting to work. Yeah, it’s a their way to justify their program and budget ($800,000 for 2007), but we appreciate them getting us some numbers to check out. (EPA funded both the GEC and the study).

The Green Electronics Council implements the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), which evaluates and registers electronics and computing products based on 52 environmental factors. GEC says that based on the first 6 month of sales of EPEAT registered computers compared to non-registered computers, EPEAT has been delivering some significant environmental benefits:

  • Saves 13.7 billion kWh of electricity (they say enough to power 1.2 million U.S. homes for a year)
  • Saves 24.4 million metric tons of materials (they say equivalent to the weight of 189 million refrigerators)
  • Prevents 56.5 million metric tons of air pollution, and 1.07 million metric tons of global warming gases (they say the equivalent of removing 852,000 cars from the road for a year)
  • Prevents 118,000 metric tons of water pollution
  • Reduces toxic material use by 1,070 metric tons (they say equivalent to the weight of 534,000 bricks and enough mercury to fill 157,000 household fever thermometers)
  • Avoids the disposal of 41,100 metric tons of hazardous waste (they say equivalent to the weight of 20.5 million bricks)

Update: So we thought the study didn’t sound so independent because the EPA funded both the GEC and the study. Scot Case of the GEC (see comments) disagrees. What do you think?

8 Responses to “Green computing works, says report”

  1. Можно было бы и получше изложить, с другой стороны можно было бы и не так хорошо

  2. Thanks, Katie. And…just a quick note that green computers are about a lot more than energy efficiency. EPEAT covers 52 environmental criteria before ranking products as EPEAT-Bronze, Silver, or Gold. Meeting the Energy Star energy efficiency requirement is only one of the criteria. The others look at reducing hazardous materials, improving design to make it easier to upgrade and recycle, requiring manufacturers to have a recycling program, etc. Energy Efficiency is important, but it’s not the only green consideration.

  3. I’m all for greener computing as long as it costs me nearly the same and performs nearly the same.

    Who doesn’t want to use less electricity?

    Encouraging results.

  4. Hey…the Green Electronics Council didn’t develop the data; we just released it.

    The University of Tennessee, with the financial backing of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, is the one that developed the methodology and ran the numbers. We just reported them.

    To be honest, we were pleasantly surprised at the environmental benefits. We actually pushed for more conservative assumptions because the benefits seemed so big.

    And, while the report will no doubt help us “justify” the program and budget, the real justification for EPEAT is coming from the CIOs and other IT professionals that are requiring EPEAT registered products. Our budget is very small compared to the more than $60 billion in purchasing power demanding EPEAT-registered green products.

    I think EPEAT is really beginning to change markets because it is making it easier for purchasers to identify green products and it provides a clear roadmap for IT engineers to design greener products. Turns out we can use the power of the marketplace to push for environmental innovation.

    With luck, Carson’s Law will soon trump Moore’s Law. Like Moore’s Law’s explanation of computer power, Carson’s Law (named after Rachel Carson, the famous U.S. environmentalist) suggests that environmental technologies will double every eighteen months.