More Bang for Your Buck!
Pardon the pun, but Danish manufacturers of amplifiers, telephones, music systems and speakers, Bang & Olufsen, were apparently working with our beloved life cycle assessment for ten years before they decided to call it quits. Why? It seems the Danish company learned what they needed to learn from the ISO regulated methodology and wanted to focus on what the results were telling them. Lone Nielson, the quality and environmental consultant at the company told the LCA Center in Denmark that, "The LCAs kept showing the same - That our largest impact is the energy consumption of the products. Therefore, we decided to stop making the analysis and instead concentrate on using the experience. But we are ready to conduct life cycle assessments on possible new product types because in this area LCA is a strong tool."
B & O's amplifier technology provides better efficiency while reducing energy consumption. About 99% of the power supplied to an amp turns into heat and is wasted. The heat has to escape somehow so most amplifiers are equipped with large cooling plates. B&O; have created an amplifier technology (ICEpowerÂ®) that does not require said cumbersome cooling plate. It consumes 10 times less electricity than a regular amplifier, thus a smaller power supply and no need for the cooling plate. The benefits are not only reduced energy consumption, but material reduction, which you can see in their little amplifier products.
Comparing a BeoLab1 equipped with ICEpowerÂ® with a corresponding Bang & Olufsen's product, BeoLab Penta (without ICEpowerÂ®), the environmental benefits related to the power consumption becomes very clear. A switched on BeoLab Penta consumes 24 W, whereas a Beolab 1 only consumes 14 W. So the power consumption is decreased by 40 %, even if a BeoLab1 has a maximum output of as much as 600 W compared with only 150 W in BeoLab Penta.
Their environmental policy is also something to take a look at. They apparently have a guide for designers and their environmental policy includes various principals of eco-design such as designing for easy dismantling and recycling, creation of products with a long life and avoiding environmentally problematic materials.