MicroPro wins Energy Globe Award for iameco computers

MicroPro Computers has won a prestigious UN award through continued development of iameco computers.

With more than 170 participating countries and over 1500 project submissions annually, the Energy Globe Award is today’s most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilise renewable or emission-free sources.

The aim of the Energy Globe is to raise global attention on sustainable, everywhere applicable environmental solutions and to motivate people to become active in this area.

The key problem addressed by iameco computers is the unacceptably high environmental impact of the global computer market: Global manufacture of ICT equipment, its use and disposal, accounts for 2% of the global CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to the entire aviation industry. 240 kg of fossil fuels are needed to manufacture an average computer; 75% of this results from the manufacture, and happens before it is even switched on.

Manufacture of one computer requires around 1.7 tons of raw materials and water; many of these are rare and finite materials. Global disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has increased exponentially, with an estimated 40-50 million tons of WEEE generated annually. The knock-on consequences of these impacts go well beyond purely environmental issues and profoundly affect the economy, society and human health. This is particularly evident in the impact of dumping of electronic waste, with 53 million tons of WEEE generated in 2009 but only 18% collected for recycling. But this problem also generates a business opportunity in the global opportunity for marketing ecological computers, where these negative impacts are reduced.

The manufacture of a “green” computer has been a long-standing vision for Multimedia Computer Systems Ltd. (MicroPro) a family run computer manufacturer based in Dublin. They currently manufacture and retail their own range of computer systems, software packages, networking and peripherals and also provide a repair and maintenance service, which helps extend the operational lifetime of equipment provided.

In 2003 MicroPro joined Project HEATSUN, which aimed to reduce, reuse and recycle computer waste. In this project, they helped to develop the first iameco computer; based on the requirements of the European Eco-Label (no PC had reached that standard at this date). Then models like the iameco v2 prototype were developed, an integrated desktop computer made primarily from renewable wood and selected, high-performance, durable components. The D4R laptop is manufactured from used wood from industrial palates and furniture off-cuts, and included a “universal motherboard” to allow the connection of good quality used parts and components from discarded corporate computers. The following results were achieved for some of the models: 75% reduction in CO2 emissions, 75% reduction in fresh water use, 98% of the used material is recyclable or reusable, hazardous materials were reduced and no paints or glues are used in the manufacture process.