At the Core of Sustainable Electronics

Read the full post at Environmental Leader.

There’s rightfully much ado about the climate — from extreme weather events, severe droughts and water crises to fossil fuels and the race to renewables. However, there’s far too little talk about electronics and their role in environmental ecosystems.

Webinar: Data Center Efficiency 101: What Sustainability Managers Should Know

Tue, Aug 11, 2015 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5446005703196428290

This non-technical presentation on data center energy efficiency will: 1) Explain savings opportunities in an easy-to-understand manner; 2) Empower anyone to spot ways to reduce energy costs in a data center or server room; and 3) Describe free resources you can tap for further assistance.

Recommended attendees: school administrators, energy managers, facilities managers, energy efficiency advocates, sustainability professionals, and IT managers. This webinar is sponsored by ENERGY STAR and hosted by Second Nature and AlterAction, a US EPA ENERGY STAR Technical Support Contractor.

How to Dispose of Old Electronics

Read the full post at the Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker blog.

Do you have an old non-working computer stashed away somewhere in your garage, attic, or closet because you’re not sure how to dispose of it?  Do you have a stack of CDs with old backups on them that you no longer need? An old printer or monitor? Power cords or connector cables that you don’t use?

Here are a few suggestions for how to dispose of these items safely and responsibly.

The tech industry is threatening to drink California dry

Read the full story in The Guardian.

We hear a lot about what the tech giants are doing with our data, but what are they doing with our water?

Water keeps our internet-based economy afloat by ensuring equipment in data centres stays cool enough to funtion. Yet in California, the drought-ravaged epicenter of the technology industry, water is in ever-shorter supply. Nasa scientist Jay Famiglietti predicts the state has only one year of water left. This raises serious questions about the environmental impact of our burgeoning data demands.

Why We’re All a Part of the Green Electronics Conversation

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

Have you ever seen one of those signs in your office encouraging you to recycle electronics? It exists for good reason: In 2014 alone, 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste was shipped to developing countries, posing an immense risk to environmental and human health. Electronics are evolving at a blistering pace, and device lifespans are shortening. Combine those with an exponential increase in global demand, and it can seem impossible to reverse the trend.

Fortunately, experts from around the world are already thinking holistically about these issues, and working to develop innovative solutions. Those experts will gather in September at the Emerging Green Conference to discuss ways to ensure that electronics are key contributors to the circular economy, rather than prime examples of how not to design a product ecosystem.

A Biodegradable Computer Chip That Performs Surprisingly Well

Read the full story in MIT Technology Review.

Biodegradable, wood-based computer chips can perform just as well as chips commonly used for wireless communication, according to new research.

Illini Gadget Garage Project Will Extend Useful Life of Student and Staff Owned Electronics

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and SEI are pleased to announce that a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign consisting of SEI coordinator Joy Scrogum (ISTC), William Bullock (Art + Design), Martin Wolske, and Jon Gant (both of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science) has recently received funding from the Student Sustainability Committee for a project entitled Illini Gadget Garage: Education through Electronic Product Life Extension. This seed funding will be used to launch a center where UI students and staff will bring their personal electronic devices for assistance with assessment and repair. The center will be called the Illini Gadget Garage.

Using the same “collaborative repair” model employed at the campus bike shop and MakerSpace Urbana’s computer Help Desk, clients with devices in need of repair/troubleshooting will work together with Gadget Garage student staff and volunteers to perform the necessary device assessment and maintenance activities. Depending upon the situation, activities may range from guidance on how to make your computer/device run faster to actual repair and replacement of components.

Beyond the avoidance of waste by extending the useful life of products, desired outcomes for students, staff, and the community include:

  • Hands on experiences for UI students, not only in terms of performing repairs, but also in process documentation and fostering sustainable behavior on a larger scale through the iFixit Technical Writing Project; marketing and business operations; lessons in industrial design for repair and recyclability; and in environmental education and communication.
  • Increased awareness of electronics laws and recycling options.
  • Increased awareness of sustainability issues surrounding electronic products throughout their lifecycles.
  • Decreased misconceptions regarding the disposability of devices and prohibitive complexity of electronics repair and maintenance.
  • Contribution to the overall efforts to make ours a more sustainable campus with a reduced carbon footprint.

The project team will use SEI’s Sustainable Electronics Campus Consortium as an advisory group, providing input and feedback on project progress and development. The project is just getting started, but there will be more information on the SEI web site and posted here on the blog over the coming months. In the meantime, if you have questions or want to be added to the campus consortium list so you can become involved in meetings on this and other relevant efforts, please contact Joy Scrogum.