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Display industry steps up green efforts

Posted: 13 Mar 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electronic display  green design practices  green office  design-for-environment 

A recent survey conducted by market research group iSuppli Corp. shows that four out of five global electronic display companies have adopted green design practices.

The findings, along with growing calls to end development of throw-away gadgets, indicate that green design practices in the manufacture of displays and other consumer devices has moved beyond the talk phase and into actual practice.

The global survey of 520 display designers from 200 companies found that 80 per cent of respondents are using environmentally-benign materials. A total of 83 per cent of respondents said their companies employ "green office" practice such as recycling and using motion sensors to turn off unused lights. Furthermore, a total of 73 per cent said their firms are implementing programs to improve energy efficiency.

"Implementing a sustainable corporate strategy can be a major revenue and cost-savings generator for any company that is thinking strategically about how it can improve its own global carbon footprint," said Kimberly Allen, senior consultant to iSuppli. "These companies will gain a competitive advantage over those focused solely on the bottom line."

The concept of sustainability has its precursor in environmental initiatives, including design-for-environment efforts, zero-waste programs and conducting life-cycle assessments of products.

Sustainability requires design techniques and active management of resources to create manufacturing practices that add value when consuming resources for human use. But measuring sustainable design is difficult.

At the recent "Greener Gadgets" conference, electronics industry executives pondered how to measure the "hue of green gadgets." Executives from companies like Intel and Dell discussed the difficulty of determining what "green" means for gadget design.

"Intel has specifically avoided marketing our products as 'green'," said Stephen Harper, director of environment and energy policy at Intel. "In our case, it's more of the system vendor using our chips who has a higher burden to make it green."

Harper, who has driven Intel's green efforts, added: "I have been with Intel for 11 years, nine of which the company was simply satisfied [with] 'being' who they are. The last two years this was turned around to 'being perceived'" as a green company.

In a keynote, entrepreneur Saul Griffith detailed the annual power consumption of an individual by examining manufacturing and food production processes. "I admit being obsessed with watts" of power, said Griffith. "But without measuring how we live, it's hard to change the direction of how we should in terms of our global ecological existence."

In calling for a new paradigm for green design, Griffith added: "We need to start thinking to develop heirloom products, and not throwaways, especially with consumer electronics devices."

-Nicolas Mokhoff
EE Times

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