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Archive for January, 2007

The future is brighter for green lightbulbs

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Green Light Fixture

The environmentalleader.com posted today that a California Assemblyman will introduce a bill to ban incandescent lightbulbs. Groovy Green reports that incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient – wasting up to 95% of the energy used to make their light and with the average household spending around a fifth of their electrical bill on lighting, changing to more energy efficient light bulbs could have a huge impact. A 20-watt Compact Fluorescent lightbulb gives as much light as a 75-watt incandescent bulb and lasts 13 times longer.

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Solar Powered Candles

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

solar candles

For the hardcore environmentalist who has everything! With these solar powered candles you no longer need to worry about any carbon emissions your candles might produce! Seriously though, these candles might offer a way to save electricity when lighting your lawn, walkway or driveway at night – or to put flameless candles realistically flickering in your windows. Also great for garden decorations or camping trips. (more…)

Is Apple Green enough?

Monday, January 29th, 2007

How Green are Apple Computers

There has been much controversy lately in regards to just how green are Apple computers. Greenpeace has launched a campaign that states Apple isn’t doing enough to be a leader in making computers more earth friendly. Specifically, they object to the many toxic materials being used in their computers. However, some people are saying that Greenpeace is just grandstanding and that Apple ranks better than most other computer makers in many environmental areas. Apple does very well with their laptops and Imac’s in terms of reduced energy consumption and is compliant with the with the European Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment, also known as the RoHS directive.

Apple states: “Apple products are compliant with the European Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment, also known as the RoHS directive. Examples of materials restricted by RoHS include lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and PBB and PBDE flame retardants. As a result of our precautionary approach to substances, Apple was able to meet many of the RoHS restrictions long before the July 2006 deadline.”
Here is the Apple statement on environment from their website.

A good articles from www.roughlydrafted.com examines merits of the Greenpeace campaign to green my apple This next article discusses this issue further and contains a reply from Greenpeace to their original article.

In all fairness, here is another article about the Apple/Greenpeace affair that explains the Greenpeace position very well and a with a very lively forum discussion about this on the Alternet site

I suspect there is some truth to both sides of this issue. Being a long time Mac user I think Apple should be a leader in making their computers as green as possible – to set the tread for the rest of the industry and it upsets me whenever they fall short in this regard. But from what I can tell the Mac is currently competitive in this area if not a leader – and is good green choice for someone thinking of getting a new computer.

One last suggestion. Before deciding on which computer to purchase you may want to check out the
Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool(EPEAT). EPEAT is a system to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT also provides a clear and consistent set of performance criteria for the design of products, and provides an opportunity for manufacturers to secure market recognition for efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products.

Time for more Green Machines

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Green Machine's Ecocenter

While those gorgeous modern wooden cased Iameco computers are to die for their price tags at around $6,500 US are too scary for my budget. One place where green machines won’t delete all the green in your bank is GreenMachineShop.com who promotes “healthy computing through environmental responsibility”.

An area where a personal computer can be earth friendly is how it uses power. Millions of people around the globe regularly leave their computers running all day. Simply turning them off when not in use would go far in saving energy and putting less carbon in the air. In both Windows and Mac there are energy saving options to reduce the amount of power your computer uses by a significant amount – naturally this only works if you actually enable it. Here is some helpful info on this topic from energystar.gov

Green Machine Shop lists their top 14 reasons for a green machine “The Top 14 Reasons for A GreenMachine Computer” Green Machine Shop claims to use the most energy efficient computer components available, make them easier to recycle with the lowest possible environmental impact and a free take back program for your old computer. Their EcoCenter models start around $ 1200.00

Before you rush right out and buy you may want to consider that the US Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of overhauling their energy Star Efficiency Ratings for computers and will release tougher standard starting this July. While they only suggest the standards, many computer makers will probably want to comply and greater competition for the greenest machine will ensue. So if you wait until the end of the year your options may significantly increase as well as a lower price.

Search for the elusive perfect green computer

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Biodegradable PC

I am betting Green Computing will soon become the next big thing. Great Green Gadgets will be looking at the search for the perfect Green Machine in the next few posts and how early innovators are addressing this need.

One of the more pressing issues is where your computer will eventually go when its time for a new one. According to a Business Week Online article:

“More than 900,000 tons of computers and information devices were junked in the U.S. in 2000. Most of this techno-waste is buried in landfills, where trace amounts of lead and mercury, along with other potentially hazardous agents, can leak into the ground and water. Currently, a scant 20% of dead PCs are recovered for recycling. Of these, about four-fifths are shipped to developing countries, where often-unprotected workers use heat or caustic chemicals to strip out the precious metals.”

USA today said “Investigators who visited the waste sites in Guiyu, China, in December witnessed men, women and children pulling wires from computers and burning them at night, fouling the air with carcinogenic smoke.
Other laborers, making $1.50 a day and working with little or no protection, burned plastics and circuit boards or poured acid on electronic parts to extract silver and gold.

“I’ve seen a lot of dirty operations in Third World countries, but what was shocking was seeing all this post-consumer waste,” said one of the report’s authors, Jim Puckett of the Seattle-based Basel Action Network. “This is all stuff from you and me.” ”

There is much to do about this vast serious problem of toxic computer waste and recycling in an enviromentally responsible manner. Here is another good article that addresses this issue from ZDnet

Currently, a few early birds are trying hard to make computers environmental responsible in regards to building them from the ground up to be more easily recycled and less toxic.

Iameco of Dublin, Ireland is The world’s first 100% biodegradable computer components, which are free of many harmful materials, such as brominated flame retardants, PVCs and heavy metals like lead, cadium and mercury that are often in computer parts. The wide range of computers are configured with beautifully finished cases, which come in several varieties of solid natural woods, including Ash, Maple, Beech and Ebony. iameco PCs also come with matching wood-finish keyboards, mice and flat-screen monitors. You can also purchase the peripherals separately. They sell them on their website and seem to ship to US as well. Here is a good article that talks about them more in detail.

Iameco Green computer one of many styles of Iameco’s green computers.

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