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Use Phase Signals to Promote Lifetime Extension for Desktop PCs

Stewart W. J. Hickey


This research seeks to enhance the probability of reuse of desktop computers, thus improve personal computer (PC) environmental performance through material and energy conservation. This was achieved by establishing people’s attitudes towards selling and buying second-hand PCs, identifying an economic theory that can help change people’s reservations about second hand equipment and implementing a technological intervention to facilitate this change. A survey of 270 PC residential users identifies adverse selection as a significant contributor to market failure in Ireland’s secondary PC market. Signaling is proposed as a potential solution to adverse selection that can facilitate superior remarketing of second-hand PCs. Signaling is a means whereby usage information can be utilized to enhance the remarketability of second-hand PCs and, therefore, promote lifetime extension for these systems. This can help mitigate a large portion of the environmental impact associated with PC system manufacture. A market solution utilizing self monitoring and reporting technology (SMART) sensor and operating system (OS) event log data for the purpose of real time usage monitoring is demonstrated, that can change consumer attitudes with regard to second-hand computer equipment. The use phase environmental impact of Desktop PCs is also an important concern as a significant portion of life cycle energy use can occur during this phase. When promoting lifetime extension of equipment it is equally imperative that systems are used as efficiently as possible in order to reap the greatest benefit from these activities. The concept of eco-feedback is adopted to enhance use phase efficiency and a technical implementation of how feedback may be achieved is also demonstrated.


Publication typePhdThesis
InstitutionUniversity of Limerick
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