Microsoft Launches Website, Helping Customers Make Environmentally Friendly PC Decisions

| Josh Henretig

When we talk about energy consumption most people think about the electricity used by your PC, kitchen appliances, TV or smartphone. However, the manufacturing process of these products also comes at a cost as it requires a material and energy-intensive process to create them. To make the computer or smartphone you’re using right now, a lot of raw materials, energy and water are needed. In fact, as much as two thirds of a PC’s total environmental footprint comes from the manufacturing process alone.

Everyday consumers and companies alike are faced with a myriad of choices when it comes to buying, using and disposing of PCs whether it’s for their family or hundreds of employees. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the right information to help them make the most environmentally friendly decision. Here at Microsoft we are working to change that.

To help both consumers and companies better understand the environmental impact associated with buying, using and disposing of a PC, Microsoft is pleased to announce the Greener IT Challenge that anyone can take at Visitors can use the information available on this site to better understand they can:

  • Buy smart: Purchase only certified PCs that have been manufactured in more environmentally sustainable ways.
  • Use smart: Understand various power options so your PC uses energy more efficiently.
  • Dispose safely: Dispose of used electronics so they can be reused and recycled and cause minimal harm to the environment.

The site has both video and text about environmentally friendly PCs, their use, and their disposal. It has links to green IT standards, including EPEAT, e-Stewards, WEEELabex, Energy Star, and R2 Solutions. Visitors can use the information to prepare for the “Greener IT Challenge,” which consists of multiple-choice questions. Those who pass the Challenge can download “Greener IT” certificates in recognition of their new competency.

Microsoft’s commitment to greener buying decisions isn’t only a resource for others, but we also practice what we preach. In fiscal year 2013, Microsoft recycled over 37,000 PC’s. We have policies in place on buying greener PCs, configuring them to use the power-saving features in the Windows operating system and disposing of old machines properly so they don’t end up in landfills. In 2012, we shared a paper outlining Microsoft’s specific energy saving practices that help ensure Microsoft IT reduces the environmental impact of PCs used at the company and as a result of these practices lowered energy consumption by 32 percent, lowered the company’s CO2 emissions and saved money.

Another critical component to Microsoft’s electronics recycling program is its refurbishment program. Microsoft works with companies and groups around the world to dispose of unwanted or outdated technology and refurbish it for others in need, allowing old electronics to find new life and stay out of landfills. You can learn more about the refurbishment program here.

We challenge you to take the Greener IT Challenge today and learn how to buy smart, use smart and dispose of your electronics safely.

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