The first touchscreen computer to gain the European Union's Ecolabel certificate is to be launched on the European market this September, as its Irish creator MicroPro also prepares to unveil a laptop version of the green PC.
The Iameco tablet PC – pronounced "I am eco" – claims to have a carbon footprint 70 per cent smaller than that of a conventional desktop computer and monitor.
Moreover, 20 per cent its materials can be easily re-used in other computers, and another 78 per cent can be recycled.
Most notably, the computer's casing is made from wood – a feature driven by Ecolabel criteria that say a product cannot contain more than 30 grams of one polymer. MicroPro buys offcuts of sustainably sourced timber, such as walnut, solid oak or beech, from European furniture makers, and transports it back to a factory in Galway, Ireland, to make the computers.
Iameco is already on sale in Ireland, and will be launched across Europe at the ELECTRONICS Goes Green conference in Berlin in September. Pricing will start from €850 plus VAT, with an additional cost for software of around €100.
Speaking to Computing sister website BusinessGreen, MicroPro chief executive Paul Maher admitted the machine had received a mixed response in Ireland so far. However, he said the company had already identified a promising market among schools that are looking for greener IT systems.
The tablet was developed with the help of the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration in Germany, which claims it is "the most environmentally friendly computer of its type".
Individual components can be easily upgraded, giving it a lifespan of up to 10 years, a significant increase on the three to five year lifespan of most modern PCs.
In addition, the machine's standard components, such as memory cards and processors, are largely halogen-free, and it contains no mercury, lead, PVC, plastics or flame retardants.
Maher also confirmed that MicroPro is planning to unveil a prototype laptop at ELECTRONICS Goes Green, which will have casing made from reused wooden pallets.
"We're going to have it on display to find out what people think about it, but it won't be on the market for a year or two," he said.
The laptop is being developed with Southampton University, using screens from China's AUO, as part of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) research scheme.
Significantly, the laptop is expected to be easily disassembled and will be able to use second-hand components to help extend its lifetime.
"If the motherboard breaks on your existing computer, you would be able to take out all the other components like the screen and processor and hard drive to fit it into our wooden laptop," he explained. "It's industrial symbiosis, we're extending the lifespan of components so the carbon footprint is really low."
This story first appeared on our sister website www.businessgreen.com