With the end of support for Windows XP, many organisations and individuals, including schools, are looking at replacing their computers. Aside from features like battery life, touch enabled screens etc, one aspect of selecting the right device for your school is the environmental profile of the device. This is not just about the planet but also has financial benefits.
When spread across all the PCs in your school, this can be a great saving, both financially and for the planet. Students at West Wycombe Combined School, which undertook such an upgrade, produced a great in-school project where the children measured the changes in power use, and what impact that would have on the planet. See our blog story on this.
The device decision you make has knock on impacts on the planet, so it is worth it to consider:
Some large organisations ask questions like this when they go out to tender for new devices, but clearly no school has the time or resources to take an approach like that. The easy solution is to look at some of the environmental certification and registration programs that have been developed, and just specify them when you select new devices.
The largest of these is EPEAT which:
As a school, specifying you only want to be offered EPEAT registered devices will still ensure you are provided with great choice. However, you are also ensured that they have gone through some checks around environmental sustainability that should give you financial saving through efficient power consumption, and improved product quality from the greater scrutiny around the manufacturing of the PC.
While EPEAT is the most widely used worldwide standard to help recognise greener PCs, there are some drawbacks. Currently it does not cover tablets, mobile phones and servers. They have stakeholder groups working on this which should enable them to expand to this in the next year or two. In the meantime, there are some less widely used standards you can consider. For tablets you could use the Swedish TCO Tablet standard.
If you want to learn more about this subject area there is a Microsoft sponsored site that provides more information – see www.greeneritchallenge.org