Joel Makower brings good news: A set of standards have been established for environmentally responsible computers:
Now comes EPEAT, a just-launched standard for "green" computers and other electronic equipment, created by the Portland, Ore.-based Green Electronics Council and adopted at the annual International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment. The voluntary standard, funded by the U.S. EPA, was initiated by a group of manufacturers, environmentalists, and purchasers.
IEEE 1680, as the standard is known, is the first U.S. standard to supply environmental guidelines for institutional purchasing decisions involving desktop and laptop computers and monitors. It offers criteria in eight categories — materials selection, environmentally sensitive materials, design for end of life, end-of-life management, energy conservation, product longevity and life-cycle extension, packaging, and corporate performance. (Download the standard here in PDF.) The new standard will encourage manufacturers to design their products to be used longer, be more energy efficient, easier to upgrade and recycle, and contain fewer hazardous materials.
This is excellent. LEED is not without its problems — details in this Grist story — but it has unquestionably spurred the growth of green building. Hopefully EPEAT can do the same for green computing.