Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Baby steps in green computing

By WyldKard
July 29, 2008

A few months back, we commented on the slow baby-steps the computer industry is taking to green consumer computers, which comes across as one-part morality and one-part bandwagon-hopping at best.

Take Dell’s Studio Hybrid PC for example, which was last reported to have an external bamboo casing as a sign of how green it is. Now, however, the Studio Hybrid PC is advertised as having interchangeable color sleeves for personalization, “or one in bamboo”. So much for a steadfast green initiative, Dell.

While the Studio Hybrid PC may very well be greener than the typical desktop machine thanks to containing recycled materials, the details of this greening are slim on Dell’s site, which isn’t much of a surprise considering the final “bamboo-optional” product.

Third-party storage company Fabrik recently touted their [re]drive, an external hard drive with a bamboo/recycled aluminum chassis which acts as a heat-sink as well as a drive enclosure. That’s a basic concept we can get behind, but with bamboo in abundance, why aren’t more companies focusing on using easily-sustainable materials instead of even bothering with recycled aluminum, particularly when we all know that not everyone recycles their aluminum anyway? If anything, save the metals for where they’re important, like in the actual hard drive.

That’s not to say that the green initiatives of Dell, Fabrik, and other companies aren’t appreciated, but let’s not over-appreciate them, either. Consumer electronics are notoriously dirty creatures that spit in the face of sustainability, requiring significant environmental footprints as part of the material mining process, production, and transportation required.

With that in mind, there’s little reason that more components of modern computers couldn’t be replaced with greener alternatives like bamboo, particularly with the minimal cost associated with such replacements. Or, we can keep backing petroleum use with every plastic panel we decide to put on our overpriced toys.


Related post:
Green Computers An Oxymoron?


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