A collaboration between the MicroPro Company in Ireland and the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin to develop a computer that's lighter on the environment has produced the iameco (pronounced “I - am - eco”), a wooden touch pad computer that uses very little energy over its entire lifecycle and is 98 percent recyclable.
According to Phys.org, "the carbon footprint is less than 360 kilograms CO2eq over the full product life cycle, which is 70 percent less than a typical desktop PC with monitor. In addition, it can be easily recycled. Of the materials used, 98 percent can be recycled. Indeed, 20 percent of the computer can be recycled immediately – in other words, many parts and components can be reused for repairing other computers – such as parts of the wooden frame."
The computer is able to use less energy through a few design upgrades. For cooling, the designers ditched an energy intensive fan for heat sinks -- copper tubes that pull heat away from the processor. The computer also uses LEDs to illuminate the screen which increases energy efficiency by 30 to 40 percent.
If you've been reading the technology section lately, you know how important of an issue repairability is for electronics and this computer definitely enables the user to repair and replace parts. The iameco was designed with standard components so that it can be upgraded at any time -- more memory, new battery, etc. The computer has a modular design to aid in disassembly for major repairs and replacements. When a computer can be easily disassembled and repaired, it means a longer product life and a lower environmental footprint, two things that were important to the two organizations behind the iameco.
The developers say that for the next generation they want to focus on even more modularity so that "old" models can be equipped with parts that update it to perform like a new model, but without the waste of buying a whole new computer and at half the cost. They are also collaborating on developing a wooden frame laptop with the same energy-saving principles.