Manufacturing Processes

Power Efficiency Guide

Ultimate Guide to Power Efficiency

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Apple focuses much of its attention on making sure its products are environmentally friendly. Company studies have concluded that 95% of its carbon footprint comes from its manufactured products. As such, even in the earliest stages of product design, it tries to limit the environmental impact of its products. Management tries to make products from materials that can be easily recycled and goes to great lengths to remove hazardous chemicals from created products. Apple's recent focus has been trying to reduce the amount of mercury and arsenic in its displays and the amount of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and PVC used in manufacturing internal components. Even with its latest products, you can see advances: the iPhone 3G shipped with PVC-free handsets, headphones, USB cables, BFR free printed circuit boards, and a mercury-free LCD display. Apple has also focused heavily on wireless technologies, such as AirPort, Bluetooth, and wireless Internet connections to reduce the amount of cabling manufactured.


As part of trying to reduce the impact of their products, Apple makes its products as energy efficient as possible, since a device's largest contribution to greenhouse gas emissions comes from its consumption of energy over time. Apple tries to minimize energy use a couple of ways: using power supplies that are more efficient and using components that require less power. Apple claims that it has reduced the off-mode power consumption of its portable computer power adapters by 82% when the computer is not in operation. Also, many Apple products have an automatic shut-off feature to conserve energy, and the Mac OS X operating system has an Energy Saver feature that allows consumers to manage the power consumption of their computers. All of Apple's products ship with power management measures enabled by default. Since 2001, Apple computers, laptops, and displays have earned the ENERGY STAR® rating.

Apple has also made improvements in CPU power management, which has dramatically reduced the power required of all of its computers. For example, Apple claims that the Mac mini consumes as little as 25 watts, while the MacBook Air uses only 13 watts when on. These numbers make the Apple computers among the most energy efficient available. Apple has also worked hard to reduce the power usage of its monitors. By using energy efficient LCD displays instead of CRTs the current generation of Apple computers use less than one-quarter of the power used by the CRT monitors supplied with the first generation Mac.

Apple has also tried to reduce the amount of energy it consumes as a corporation. Management has set up an employee transit program that provides up to a $100 monthly subsidy for all U.S. employees as an incentive for using public transportation and carpooling. They have even provided a free bus service from metropolitan areas and train stations to its headquarters in Cupertino, California. Apple has also purchased 25% of the total energy demand for the company's Cork, Ireland, facility from renewable sources, predominantly wind power.


Apple also considers recycling to be a top priority. The company first introduced a take-back initiative in Germany in 1994. Since then, Apple has instituted recycling programs in 95 percent of the countries where its products are sold. So far, it has kept 53 million pounds of electronic equipment from landfills worldwide. In the United States, Apple offers a free recycling program for old computers and displays with the purchase of a new Mac. Apple also offers a free recycling program for other electronics, taking back iPod players or any cell phone (regardless of manufacturer or model). The company will even offer a 10% discount on the purchase of a new iPod for bringing in an iPod for recycling at an Apple stores.

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