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Calculating an end-product's CO2 footprint can yield some interesting and perhaps counterintuitive implications. Take, for example, a wood-framed computer.MicroPro PC employees in Ireland, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM, have developed an eco-friendly PC with a carbon footprint of 360 kg CO2 eq for the PC's full product lifecycle, which the team says represents a 70% reduction from that of a typical desktop PC with monitor. Ninety-eight percent of the materials used can be recycled.

PlasticsToday Staff

August 3, 2012

1 Min Read
'Wooden' PC throws down carbon-footprint gauntlet

Calculating an end-product's CO2 footprint can yield some interesting and perhaps counterintuitive implications. Take, for example, a wood-framed computer.

MicroPro PC employees in Ireland, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM, have developed an eco-friendly PC with a carbon footprint of 360 kg CO2 eq for the PC's full product lifecycle, which the team says represents a 70% reduction from that of a typical desktop PC with monitor. Ninety-eight percent of the materials used can be recycled.

iamecoPC.jpg

The iameco PC claims a 70% lifetime carbon-footprint reduction over typical desktop models.

Accordingly, this has earned the wood-framed, touchscreen iameco (pronounced "I-am-eco") PC an "EU Eco-label," the European Union's environmental label denoting products which, in general terms, have a "reduced environmental impact compared with other products in the same product group."

Much of the CO2 footprint reduction derives from an overall reduction of energy used by the PC while it's operating. Since computers consume electricity, which has to be generated with corresponding CO2 production, lower energy requirements greatly affect the footprint calculation, along with the materials, manufacturing, and recycling elements.

To reduce energy, the iameco dispenses with fans in favor of heatsinks that convey heat from the processor via copper tubes. Employing LEDs to illuminate the touchscreen reportedly improves that component's energy efficiency by 30-40%. Additionally, the computer's design is intended to facilitate easier repair and maintenance, which in turn extends the PC's useful life. Increased modularity of design in next iterations is said to make upgrading the computers to state-of-art standards more cost-effective at about half the price of a new PC.

Under development is an environmentally friendly wood-frame notebook computer.

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