Going green can be easy. Gadget lovers can buy energy efficient technologies made with recycled materials from companies that aim to reduce their carbon emissions.
Here are a few companies featuring environmentally conscious products who attended the recent EcoFocus expo in New York City.
Sony: Green Partnerships
Since 2003, Sony (Stock Quote: SNE) has only used suppliers approved as “green partners."
Before being selected as a supplier, these companies undergo audits to assess their compliance with environmental laws and regulations, and take surveys on how they procure raw materials. All are continually evaluated to make sure they comply with Sony’s expectations.
Now, most of Sony’s VAIO computers comply with Energy Star labeling standards developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy to identify and promote energy efficient products. They’ve also been highly ranked by EPEAT, which helps consumers evaluate and compare electronics based on environmental impact.
In addition, some Sony devices are developed to reduce power consumption while in use. An “eco-switch” on certain models ensures that no power is being used when the display is off. And Sony Bravia HDTVs use light sensors to self adjust backlight to save power without reducing viewing quality. Sony has also developed a “presence detector” which puts a TV in standby mode if no motion is detected after a pre-set time.
Toshiba: Recycling Is Key
Toshiba prides itself on efforts to minimize waste, reduce energy consumption and use recycled materials. A number of its new laptops are Energy Star compliant. They're also packed in recycled materials, and Toshiba has a take-back program for the packing materials.
Its Portégé R600-ST520W laptop was named the greenest notebook by Greenpeace in January. (But with a sticker price of $2,150, you’d better hope your energy savings add up over time.)
Toshiba has also set a goal of recycling 12 million pounds of waste in the U.S. and 146 million pounds worldwide in 2010. To help reach these goals, Toshiba has a trade-in program which sends consumers a check (that's real money they can spend on anything) when they return old computers, cameras, game systems and other devices. They'll pay for shipping—just register and follow the instructions online.
In addition, the company, along with Panasonic and Sharp Electronics, formed the Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company to provide recycling services to electronics manufacturers, state and local governments and others.
Cisco: Keeping Tabs on Energy Consumption
Cisco (Stock Quote: CSCO) has developed a switch system that measures, reports and reduces the energy consumption of phones, laptops and other devices. This summer, the technology will reach PCs, laptops and printers, and early next year, Cisco will extend the technology to building heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems as well as elevators and security systems.
Cisco has also set a goal of reducing its worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 25% over the next four years by measuring energy flow, using more efficient lab equipment and programming machines to shut down when they’re not in use. Cisco says it’s already cut its emissions from air travel by at least 10%.
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