GTA Quoted in USA Today on Green-ness of Electronics

June 9, 2011

I just bought this one!

GreenTech Advocates was quoted in a USA Today article titled “Products green-ness often in the eye of the beholder,” by electronics gear writer Edward C. Baig.

The article spotlights several products, from cell phones made from recyclable materials to electronics that help consumers achieve better energy efficiency—and presents the different environmental attributes considered by consumers and how some electronics manufacturers go about promoting—or not promoting—their products’ green-ness.

Different Shades for Different Folks

GreenTech Advocates’ position is that there are different shades of green for different folks. If a consumer is interested in energy efficiency in a product, he or she should look for that. If they want recyclability, they should seek that. Just because a product has one environmental attribute and not the other doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered green. After all, we’re still in the early phases of rolling out more energy-efficient and eco-friendly products, especially in electronics. And trying to be 100 percent green is setting the bar pretty darned high.

Newer Than Your Phone!

GTA’s Steve Castle was quoted in the USA Today piece as fretting over the planned obsolescence of many of today’s electronics:

“How green can you be if you’re going to run out and buy an iPhone 5 so soon after the iPhone 4?” (Not that an iPhone 5 has been introduced — yet.)

That’s not our usual spiel here at GTA, but it’s a conversation that should be started in consumer electronics nonetheless. You’ve no doubt seen the hilarious commercial for Best Buy’s Buy Back program, where a woman in an audience of a product rollout exclaims, “I just bought this one!”

Click on the image to enjoy the obsolescence.

Yup. That commercial works works works because just about everyone who owns electronics can relate to it. We all fear being that guy at the end of the commercial whose daughter exclaims, “You bought the wrong TV, sillyhead!”

Granted, technology happens and keeps on happening, at faster and faster rates. But come on: Did Apple really have to hold back a forward-facing camera in the original iPad and save it for iPad 2? Are other new systems and hardware really needed at such a rapid rate?

Yay Cloud?

Maybe with more and more cloud-based services, we will get away from the mentality of moving boxes to moving and upgrading whatever small amounts of software and operating systems we require to keep up with cloud technology.

Harness the Power of our Technology

The much larger picture, GreenTech Advocates feels, is that our electronics’ processing power can be harnessed not to use so much energy but to help people save energy—automatically. All the technology is already there. And now there’s both high-end customized home control/automation that can make some of that possible and new, mass-market solutions from ADT, Comcast and others to come.

With our electronics today, we can quickly achieve the set-it-and-forget-it grail of housewide and business-wide energy management—and we should only have to interact with boring old energy management systems when we receive an alert on our smartphones or other devices. That future shouldn’t be Jetsons-forward thinking. We’re already doing some of that with programmable thermostats and basic lighting control. Automatically controlling the energy use of the rest of your home or business isn’t that far away.

What’s that? It needs an upgrade? Already? Drat!


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