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Computer Procurement

Page history last edited by Stephanie 11 years, 3 months ago

Computer Purchasing


The need for our consumption of computing technology to support environmental sustainability increases every year as computing devices become more ubiquitous. For procurement, this need could be addressed by choosing products which maximize the recyclable content of materials in the manufacturing process, maximize energy efficiency (in the production cycle as well as during regular use), and minimize hazardous materials both as components (examples include mercury in screens, lead and cadmium in batteries) and as manufacturing byproducts. Taking these factors into consideration will not only reduce the environmental impact of your computer, but also be economical in the long run - calculate potential savings on your energy expenses through the Energy Star calculator.


In particular, hazardous components used in computers and reducing excessive electronic waste are key priorities. As such, environmentally conscious technology companies are taking the initiative to install take-back programs for products once it comes time for consumers to dispose of them to responsibly deal with the e-waste, and this factors in to how these companies are rated for the environmental performance in reviews such as the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics. Similarly, EcoLogo certifies computer products whose main components can be easily disassembled for reuse (such as graphic cards or hard drives), benefiting both the environment as well as the financial resources of the consumer.


Recommended Actions


Look for EPEAT Gold, Silver, or Bronze certification  
Look for Energy Star certification (80 Plus)  
Use LCD monitors or laptops whenever possible  
Plan ahead - purchase in a way that maximizes inventory life cycles  
Refer to the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics  


Helpful Tools



The EPEAT system, established by the Green Electronics Council, can be used by consumers in their evaluation and comparison of various desktop computers, laptops, and monitors based on their environmental attributes. The EPEAT system certifies products based on 23 required and 28 optional criteria- all certified products meet the 23 required criteria; Silver and Gold additionally meet > 50% and 75%, respectively, of the optional criteria. All EPEAT certified products are also Energy Star certified (see below). A searchable database for EPEAT certified products can be found on the website.  


Energy Star

Energy Star is an international standard for electronic appliances that certifies computers based on their compliance with the 80 PLUS system (see below).


80 Plus

80 Plus promotes energy efficient computer supply units as Gold, Silver, or Bronze (achieving 80% or greater efficiency at 20%, 50%, and 100% of maximum rated power). This minimizes energy wasted as heat output and maximizes the proportion of energy supplied by the unit to energy input into the system.


Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics

Greenpeace assesses companies and their products based on measuring toxic substances used in the manufacturing process, how they minimize climate impact in their operations, and responsible recycling practices.


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