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Driving Desktop Sustainability, Now and into the Future

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Intel recently announced our vision to drive to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations and set new goals to help lower the footprint of the technology industry. The Desktop, Workstation and Gaming (DWG) Organization supports Intel’s vision by continuously improving the capabilities and efficiency of our products and platforms, ultimately helping our partners and customers lower their total system carbon footprints.   

The work DWG is doing to lower the carbon footprint of stationary products, like desktops and workstation towers, is no easy task. Carbon footprint models show that notebook systems emissions largely come from the manufacturing phase, and server emissions are mostly from operations1. However, both the manufacturing and operations phases of the product lifecycle contribute in a significant way to the overall product carbon footprint of stationary products. This means DWG must simultaneously focus our efforts on reducing our manufacturing carbon footprint and improving product energy efficiency.  

Intel has a longstanding commitment to sustainability and continues to make progress in decreasing our manufacturing footprint, with ambitious goals across water use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste.  In fact, Barron’s recently ranked Intel number one on their list of The Most Sustainable Companies, given our focus on water management2. Our recent commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations by 2040 will continue to drive reductions in our footprint. And in product design, Intel partners with our OEMs and ODMs to drive product efficiency and innovation – focusing on motherboard decarbonization and optimization. 

To drive increased desktop energy efficiency, Intel is evolving PC industry standards when it comes to power supplies and efficient desktop system design.  In 2021, we published the original ATX12VO power supply specification to provide higher platform power efficiency in a smaller footprint. Importantly, ATX12VO-compliant power supplies increase the efficiency of low-power draw scenarios by using a single 12V rail exclusively. Intel’s work on these new power supply specifications is manifesting in the market now. MSI recently announced the launch of the first ATX12VO-based desktop system—combining better system energy efficiency with creator-required responsiveness3. Intel is continuing its work on ATX12VO and recently publishing an updated specification to provide the PC industry with an updated blueprint for designing power supply units (PSUs) and motherboards that reduce power draw at idle, helping customers lower electrical demand4. 

Our Project Athena-based desktops are also an example of both manufacturing and operational efficiency.  By requiring modern standby and the single rail PSU, these desktops will create smaller, more efficient form factors designed to help OEMs meet Energy Star and EPEAT environmental and social responsibility standards.   

Alongside our partners, Intel will continue to drive desktop sustainability in both manufacturing and operations – supporting our broader net-zero vision in the years to come.  






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Do Intel have a sustainable solution for unused Heatsink/fans in the UK?  A rebate scheme would be a good idea in my opinion to avoid these going to landfill or even recycled when they are in a perfect condition.  We have hundreds of these and selling these unused and boxed heatsinks would be a very slow process.


We currently only use the CPU and cannot find a way to buy CPU's on a tray (non retail).



About the Author
Kathleen Fiehrer is a 24-yr veteran at Intel. She has worked in various sustainability roles at Intel including manufacturing, the data center and now in the Client Compute Group. Currently, she is a Sustainability Technologist within the Desktop and Workstation Group focusing on driving sustainability into our products. Other areas of focus are reparability, life cycle analysis and material reuse.