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Green Technology

Essay by   •  May 23, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,562 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,302 Views

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"The Earth's climate continues to change, and biological diversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate, undermining the ecological basis for sustainable development". This statement may well summarize the reasons underlying the growing interest for green technology. Although a current issue, the development and use of green technology is by no means new.

In general terms, 'green technology' may be defined as a method of products designed to protect the environment from toxins. One of its main purposes is to lead the Planet from a sole technology era to an environmentally cleaner era. More specifically, the term has been used in the past decade to identify a group of industries and industrial applications which exploit the commercial value of technologies that benefit the environment, particularly as it impacts the human condition. These effected industries are quite diverse. They notably include businesses from the energy field to the agriculture. The actual scientific concerns in respect of the need for cleaner technologies show the urgency of the aforementioned transition. It appears inevitable that in a near future, every single consumer product will be affected by green technology. This also applies to the services industry.

Historical developments of green technology encompass harnessing and advancing wind energy. Yet, windmills, per se, only started reaching America in the 1850's, when it was used to provide fresh water to irrigate the farms and drinking water for the livestock, and led to the elaboration by Charles Brush of the first wind powered turbine that generated electricity in the U.S.

On an institutional side, the path towards green energy mainly appeared through the creation in 1992 of the U.S. EPA's (Environmental Protection Agency) Energy Star Program. The latter aims to segregate computers, monitors, electronics, appliances and other equipment depending upon their energy efficiency. Generally speaking, it opened the door to what is known as the 'sleep mode' on various pieces of equipment. At an international level, one of the most important landmarks that can be mentioned is the signature of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The main purpose of this instrument is the reduction of carbon emissions. Although countries seemed to have reached a compromise, the application of the protocol has since shown its limits. It nevertheless remains an important contribution. More efficient implementation of international instruments might be found within the European Community, in particular through the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, adopted in February 2003, completed by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive of 2005. The RoHS Directive restricts the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyis and polybrominated diphenyl in the manufacture of electronic and electrical equipments. The goal sought by these two directives is the collection, recycling, and recovery of electrical goods aimed at reducing toxic e-waste. Consequently, manufacturers are required to use non-hazardous materials in the production of chipsets, processors, and companion chips.

The current trend includes several industries, sometimes working along, to produce greener products. One major example is the removal of hazardous substances from numerous products or the use of recycling containers. Pressure is constantly put on manufactures to accelerate the development of greener technology for their products, in particular through means of reports made public by some organizations, among the infamous Greenpeace.

The future of green technology is believed to rely heavily upon the availability of 'alternative energy' sources, which would allow to both eliminate the emission of green house gases that cause global warning and to make the limited resources available on Earth perpetually sustainable. Alternative Energy may be defined as both energy sources other than mined hydrocarbons - e.g. solar energy in replacement of oil and natural gas as well as alternative methods to process mined hydrocarbons that are more efficient than current instruments (e.g. use of fuel cells in replacement of combustion engines).

As consumers, studies are very important for deciding which products is the best overall. We often times read reviews on products about their performance, longevity, and energy efficiency, but not about the chemicals that are put into them or the hazardous materials used to build these products. It is reassuring to know that some of these companies are looking into their futures and ours to protect the environment. Often times we also don't think about the harmful materials these products are made of and what happens to them when we are through with them. When we discard these products how can we properly recycle such harmful materials? This is the question most companies are trying to answer by doing all they can to eliminate these materials. As one can see from the scores given to these companies this is not an easy task, but it is reassuring to know an attempt is being made to a cleaner future.

Thanks to government policies and laws, each time a manufacturer wants to come up with

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