I’ve been testing a new, very efficient PC called the ThinkCentre M58p Eco Ultra Small by Lenovo. This compact PC is the successor to the ThinkCentre M57p Eco. My kilo-o-watt meter is telling me that the M58p consumes only about 35 watts while idle, and 58 watts of power at peak usage. It has a power supply that is 85% efficient when converting AC to DC power (15% escapes as heat).
Average PC power supplies have an efficiency rate of about 50%. This is the first ThinkCentre to incorporate the Power Manager — a ThinkVantage technology that allows PC users to control their electricity consumption remotely.
The M58p has all the important green certifications: EPEAT Gold, RoHS and Energy Star 4.0. (See our explanation of all these certifications below.)
It’s also the first ThnkCentre to be packaged in materials that are both 100% recycled and 100% recyclable. It also the first ThinkCentre to use post-consumer recycled plastics in its construction. The computer’s front bezel is made with recycled plastic, and the keyboard is made with 35% recycled plastic.
Recently, Lenovo was critized by Greenpeace for missing their own 2009 deadline for eliminating the toxic substances PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). This deadline was pushed to 2010. While the M58p is free of these substances, it would be great to see all of Lenovo’s products be free of PVC and BFRs.
Here’s the Greenpeace 2009 Guide To Greener Electronics, which was released last month.
The M85p retails for about $811.
Home Page: Lenovo
It’s available at Amazon.
Assessing The Green Qualities Of A PC
How do you judge the greenness of a computer? The two most important factors are power consumption, and the elimination of hazardous components inside the machine. Other factors such as the efficiency of the power supply, packaging and the manufacturer’s support for recycling programs are also important. Overall, there are a huge number of factors to assess, but thankfully there are now some eco-certifications that make it easier. The most important certifications are EPEAT (Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool), RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) and Energy Star 4.0. All three of these certifications are standardized, so they are more specific in their assessments than the marketing claims or green initiatives of the past. Here’s a brief description of the certifications:
|The EPEAT system is currently the most comprehensive verification of a computer’s environmental attributes. EPEAT was created by a consortium of electronics manufacturers, and partially funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPEAT evaluates computer desktops, laptops, and monitors based on 51 environmental criteria including Energy Star compliance. If a computer is awarded the EPEAT Gold rating, it is one of the greenest out there. You can see a list of all the desktop computers that achieved a Gold EPEAT rating here. A summary of the criteria can be found here|
|The new EnergyStar 4.0 certification assesses the power consumption of PCs, but it doesn’t cover other criteria like toxicity. To comply with the new Energy Star 4.0 standard, a desktop PC must use under 50W in idle mode and 4W when asleep.|
|The RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) directive bans from the EU market any new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than mandated maximum levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, and two flame retardants. RoHS covers everything in a computer except for the batteries, which are regulated separately.|