Information and Communications Technology for Development - ICT4D - has become an explosive force in the developing economies. Much ICT4D is inherently more sustainable than its counterparts in developed countries. This could deteriorate unless Green ICT becomes an explicit part of ICT4D. Now is the time to make that happen.
Fairphone positions its first product as "A seriously cool smartphone that puts social values first." The Netherlands-based company's phone addresses two important Green ICT issues for mobile devices: conflict minerals and e-waste.
The line between "devices" and "IT" is quickly fading as these two categories merge. Hospitals are a good example. In the late 20th century, many hospitals had two technology departments: "biomed" and "computers". As biomedical devices have becoming increasingly digital and networked, and as IT moves onto mobile devices, many hospitals have consolidated these operations into a single technology organization. A consequence is that Green ICT embraces medical devices and their infrastructures. Our original 2010 post noted that medical equipment sold into the European Union was exempt from the Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, but that would be changing. There is now a firm 2014 date.
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Most Green ICT focuses on hardware. That make sense, because hardware lifecycles encompass everything from environmentally responsible sourcing of its raw materials through energy efficiency of its use to sustainable disposal at its end-of-life. Special utility software such as desktop power-saving plays a central role in Green ICT, but less attention has been given to the application and system software in the gear, itself. Now, projects are looking at how to create more sustainable software.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is emerging as an important mechanism to ensure more sustainable ICT gear. Here is a review of what EPR is and who is implementing it.
The industry has been striving to green data centers for some time. Here are some of pioneers from 2002 through 2009.
Traditional household appliances have become more energy efficient in the past forty years, but households have not. The growing use of electronics plays a major role in the failure to benefit from more efficient appliances.
Seventeen manufacturers offer ENERGY STAR® qualified servers. CompuLab, SuperMicro and Toshiba are the latest. Bull and Wipro appear to no longer offer qualified models.
Mega data centers are booming but operators from Microsoft to the NSA are learning something about the 'bust' side of the equation. It turns out big data centers can be big targets for the tax man.