Monday, 14 February 2011

Fujitsu’s desktop emissions analysis and the implications ..

GreenIT.fr recently reported on an analysis by Fujitsu of the carbon footprint of its Esprimo E9900 desktop for German users.

Fujitsu worked with the Bifa Augsburg research institute and the assessment was made according to the ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards for analysing life cycle emissions. The results were verified by an independent third party.

The Esprimo desktop that was assessed comprises an Intel CoreTMi5-670, 2 x 2 GB DDR3 memory, a 250 GB hard drive, an optical reader-writer, and an Nvidia Geforce 9500 GS. The product already has a string of green labels, certified as EPEAT Silver, Energy Star 5.0, Blue Angel and Nordic Swan.

The analysis came up with the figure of 339 kg CO2e for emissions before it was even used, broken down by:

  • Manufacture of components: 302 kg CO2e

  • Transportation: 34 kg CO2e

  • Assembly: 3 kg CO2e

Key electronic components are made in China, while assembly is done in Europe. Some expensive components, such as microprocessors, are flown in while the rest is transported by boat, hence there is more CO2e in transport than assembly. The chart below shows the breakdown of emissions for component manufacture.

For emissions in use, Fujitsu based the assessment on the ‘Busy’ profile defined for an Energy Star 5.0 desktop with a useful life of 260 days per year, giving an annual consumption of 113.6 kWh. Over a five year lifetime, for German users that means 373kg CO2e. Allowing for a carbon credit for recycling of 7kg CO2e, the total lifetime emissions reached a grand total of 705kg CO2e.

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It’s an interesting analysis. It reinforces the issue around transport which came up in the IBM server assessment I reported previously – much depends how components are shipped. Even more will depend on the final destination of the product – I believe in this case an average figure was used for delivery emissions and for return to the recycling facility.

But greenIT.fr raises one other significant point when it comes to assessing emissions internationally. In the use phase, CO2e will be dependent on the emissions per kilowatt hour of electricity, which varies enormously.

For example, according to greenIT.fr, in France the equivalent emissions from the use phase of the Fujitsu desktop would be just 7kg CO2e per year (presumably because of the high level of nuclear power in France). It means that it would take 48 years to emit as much CO2e in use as is created in manufacture and transport. It rather changes priorities if emissions is the main factor in product choice.

© The Green IT Review

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