Boring-looking and intrusive, energy and material intensive, desktop computers are often an essential - but unattractive - piece of equipment. But could this be different? Two Italian friends have come up with a low-energy 'bio computer', made of sustainable materials, which can turn any workstation into a green and aromatic oasis.
As they sat around at a BBQ, and inspired no doubt by the greenery that surrounded them, Italian IT specialist Fabio Portesan and his friend, carpenter Filippo Fassera, decided that it would be great to have an environmentally friendly desktop computer that not only consumed less energy than a conventional PC, but that could also render a workstation much more aesthetically pleasing.
They set to work and came up with the ATMO PC, a compact eco-alternative to the conventional PC's central processing unit (CPU) - that is the bulky box we tend to keep out of sight under our desks.
Each ATMO boasts a stylish looking (and much smaller) wooden-encased CPU, hand-made from recycled FSC- certified ash timber, and low-energy components. On top of each computer sits a Peperomia rotundifolia plant which, thanks to the optimal light and heat generated by the ATMO, can grow happily while supplying oxygen to the surrounding area. After two to three months, each plant can be replanted, and a new one can take its place on top of the ATMO: four to five plants can therefore be grown each year, thus promoting what the designers call 'home reforestation'.
The zen qualities of this computer are further enhanced by a built-in essential oil burner: indeed, sitting side by side to the plant, a tray of river stones also benefits from the PC's waste heat, and can be sprinkled with essential oils to set the mood for your workstation.
Environment-enhancing, mood-improving, and energy-efficient
At the same time as producing oxygen and mood-improving scents, ATMO computers use low amounts of energy: at about 60/70kWh per year, they need only one quarter of the power required by a conventional desktop PC. Also, some models only use forced natural ventilation, and are therefore cooled without the need for energy-hungry fans.
ATMO's smaller design also means that their need for materials and energy is minimised in their production as well as their use. And thanks to a planned upgrade kit the designers will ensure also modular repair or replacement of components, further minimising use of resources and waste generation. Lastly, the company pledges to plants a tree for each and every ATMO they sell.
As the mountains of electronic waste keep on rising, and as we need to do as much as we can to reign in greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy, as well as the energy and materials intensity of our production processes, bio computers could offer a more sustainable alternative to conventional PC's, and a great looking tool for greening the IT sector.
And if you speak Italian, you can take a closer look here: