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Green Machines?

Ask the Tech Tec.

“Our aim is to be the greenest manufacturer of computers on the planet,” says Paul Rickards without the tiniest hint of a smile or the tell tale snigger of betrayal you might expect from the corporate classes.
After all, how much greenwash have we seen in the past from companies trying to convince us that they really care about the environment?
But the way he delivers his proclamation to an admittedly select gathering on a rather wet, grey day in Glasgow, does leave you wondering if he could just be telling the truth here.
Gathered in the stylish confines of the Drawing Room Bar on Sauchiehall Street, a small band of journalists have been left to pick their way through the various sized computers Dell has out on display.
Advising them is Rickards, the External Account Manager Scotland for Dell, and James Gibb, Dell’s Marketing & Communications Manager, who would both easily fit in over the road at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
Because to them these new machines are national treasures, polished and shiny, just waiting to be appreciated.
There is much to see, Dell’s Crystal 22-inch Widescreen Flat-Panel Monitor, for one example, or the
studio 15 laptop in all sorts of colours from US urban artist Mike Ming.
But ecoforyou is here for two reasons only.
The first is the Studio Hybrid ‘anywhere-you-want’ desktop which we are told beforehand is eco friendly; the second is the Inspiron Mini 9, just because it looks cool.
The Mini 9, you see, is just that. 8.9” in size, weighing little more than a bag of sugar at 2.28lbs (1.035kg), starting about £280. The perfect little laptop for surfing the web, Twittering, firing out emails.
See. Cool.
That, however, is to detract from our real target, the Studio Hybrid, starting from £429 and which actually looks pretty smart too. The first thing to strike you is its size – 80% smaller than your typical desktop tower – so less material is used in the making.
Various cover sleeves are available, including one in bamboo, with optional wireless accessories, webcam, Wi-Fi networking, Blu-ray disc drive and so on. But once you get past all that techie nonsense, you learn that its size and efficient components allows Dell to claim 70 percent less energy use.
This has allowed it to achieve a US grading of Energy Star 4.0 compliant – which is like a big red tick on your homework here in the UK.
Impressed yet?
Well, size really does matter. Because it is smaller, it uses 30% less packaging – and 95% of the packaging materials recyclable. Printed documentation has also been reduced and is recycleable.
Multiply that by the 60,000 units they can manufacture every day in Limerick, Ireland, then add in the same for its new factory in Poland, and that’s a lot of recycling potential.
Dell may not yet be perfect, but at least it’s a start, and one Rickards expects the company to build upon.
Not just for its own corporate responsibility, but customer demand.
“A lot of companies are looking at how to make efficiencies,” he says, “And saving energy through their computer set-up is one way to do that.
“If you can save 70% of energy on one computer a year, then imagine that spread over 10,000 units.”
A byte sized chunk out of anyone’s bill and, of course, their carbon footprint too.

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