UK's Waste & Resources Action Programme (WARP) conducted a study of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) content of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). What can we learn, besides UK greens' fondness for initials? Turns out media, not IT, gear is the largest category. Upgrades are driving this waste stream.
Vertatique has been tracking statistics about the carbon costs of everyday computer activities dating back to our March 2007 look at Second Life. These stats can be both useful for awareness-building and hard to get right, as we were reminded by the 2009 flap over Google's search footprint*. Google subsequently released more statistics on its unit energy consumption and CO2e footprint.
Fujitsu announced that it has established a consolidated green product development standard based on the IEC 62075 framework covering the environmentally conscious design of AV and ICT equipment. The standard will encourage product designs which "promote resource efficiency and recycling", "reduce power consumption during…use", "reduce noise levels", and "avoid…use of hazardous materials".
Vertatique's comprehensive vision of ICT includes e-media infrastructures and practices. News Corporation one of the world's largest media empires, so the company is a logical one for us to track. We first began looking at NewsCorp in July 2006, when company executive (and chairman's son) James Murdoch talked about the media industry going green. Among his claims back then: NewsCorps' satellite broadcasting arm BSkyB is already "carbon neutral".
Communications is another area where we pay an energy/heat/carbon price for speed. IEEE Spectrum reported in 2008 that network interface controllers in computers and switching gear consume over 5 terawatt-hours per year in the United States alone. 1/Gb/s links consume 4W more than their 100 Mb/s counterparts and the upcoming 10 Gb/s link could consume 10-20W more. Fortunately, energy-efficient networking is receiving more attention as Green ICT expands beyond the data center.
Microsoft researchers have proposed that "servers can be sent to homes and office buildings and used as a primary heat source. We call this approach the Data Furnace or DF. Data Furnaces have three advantages over traditional data centers: 1) a smaller carbon footprint 2) reduced total cost of ownership per server 3) closer proximity to the users." Data centers are already being used as heating sources in Europe, 'data furnaces' takes the concept to the distributed residential level.
EPEAT® - "the definitive global registry for greener electronics" - simplifies its twenty-three required IEEE 1680 criteria and twenty-eight optional ones into a simple Bronze-Silver-Gold designation. EPEAT Gold models meet all required criteria and at least 75% of the optional ones. ~20* manufacturers are now offering over 1200* EPEAT Gold products registered for the United States.
We've often noted how different sustainability rating yield different results. That's why we make the effort to contrast them in visual formats like the table below, comparing recent Computerworld and Newsweek rankings. The two agree on Fujitsu and HP, but don't always converge after that.
Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics "ranks the 15 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TVs and games consoles according to their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change" on a 10-point scale. The organization makes its older editions available online, so we took the opportunity to see how companies have been trending. Many have seen their scores decline in the past year. We highlighted those companies most recently scoring 4.9 or better in green, those scoring 2.9 or below in red.
Mobile devices and services are growing cloud computing at a dizzying pace. How clean are these clouds?