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MicroPro is a small company based in Dublin that has pioneered the development of green computers, to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions, waste and the risk of raw materials shortages. It has done this by developing 2 prototypes, one of a desktop (iameco v3)  and another of a laptop (iameco D4R)  computer

The design of the prototypes has been based on “design for reuse”, by developing a chassis made of renewable or recycled wood and recycled metal, and facilitating access to all internal working parts, so components can be easily repaired, upgraded and reused. MicroPro has also developed a service network to repair, upgrade and take-back the PC’s, side by side with the eco-designed products. iameco computers have been tested on the basis of internationally recognised standards, to demonstrate a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in relation to conventional computers, over their life-cycle when compared to a baseline scenario.

The iameco v3 minimises environmental impact by reducing impact of materials in terms of reducing size, number of parts and simplifying design. Access to all working parts and disassembly has been made easier. Parts and components have been selected to reduce energy, environmental impact and the product’s CO2 footprint. Plastics in the housing parts and flame retardants have been eliminated and replaced by wood from renewable forests. Heavy metals and other hazardous materials have been reduced or eliminated. The iameco v3,  meets the stringent energy reduction targets of the European Eco-Label, and secured this Award in December 2010.

The iameco v3 reduces Typical Energy Consumption (TEC) of 94 kilowatt-hours (kWhs) which is greater than 45% more efficient than the TEC threshold specified by current Energy Star Standard (Version 5.0) for Category B desktop computers. It further reduces power use by Zero power consumption-sleep mode.

The D4R laptop achieves an estimated 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, when compared to the baseline scenario of a conventional laptop. The proposed concept is in line with the European waste management hierarchy, which places reuse at the highest priority and highlights three novel concepts in industrial networks that have never before been demonstrated.

  • It is being conducted on an international basis
  • It is being conducted by SMEs
  • It is using low entropy waste materials

In terms of low entropy materials, it has been suggested that the origin of the high energy intensity of manufacturing has a fundamental explanation in terms of entropy. This D4R laptop minimises this environmental impact through lifetime extension of by-product computer components and preventing the loss of scarce resources.

The closed loop manufacturing scenario in conjunction with a Lease-based business model allows all but defect parts to be replaced, and given defect parts are recycled according to WEEE schemes, this indicates nearly 88.5% reuse or recycling is possible