How Eco is "Eco" Gear?

Evidence of Green ICT on the information and telecommunications industries is everywhere. Gear is becoming more energy efficient, renewable energy is increasingly in favor, and product content and lifecycles are starting to be scrutinized. So what defines "eco" gear in 2012?

A case in point is Hewlett-Packard's POD 240a, promoted as the "HP EcoPOD". This is HP's "Performance Optimized Datacenter" container with "power (power distribution) and HVAC, system management panels (EPO, EPMS, Smoke Detection, etc), and the racks."

Hewlett-Packard offers many notable products and ranks high for corporate sustainability among ICT companies. The POD has many impressive energy-saving features and "delivers PUEs ranging from 1.05 to 1.04 depending upon IT load, environmental conditions, and customer policy."

The question for the 240a is, does energy efficiency alone make a piece of ICT equipment "eco"?

Compare the "EcoPOD" with the ~90 models of HP IT gear registered as EPEAT Gold. This certification includes not only energy-efficiency, but sustainability criteria ranging from product content to end-of-life. We could not find specific information about those topics anywhere in the company's 240a material. (The ten-page Quick Specs sheet does conclude with generic references to the HP end-of-life program and to WEEE compliance.)

Hewlett-Packard has shown in many ways that it can be serious about sustainability. Labeling the POD 240a "eco"does not appear to be one of them.

As ICT gear become increasingly energy efficient, the industry needs to embrace a more comprehensive definition of Green ICT.