KioskMarketplace.com set out to find the greenest kiosk on the market. It turns out, picking one, or even defining what makes a kiosk green, wasn't so cut and dry. While some companies are getting requests for greener options, they're also discovering clients don't want to pay extra for them.
Several CEOs we interviewed talked about building kiosks out of recycled materials, but they also agreed that one way to "green up" the kiosk industry was to manufacture kiosks that specifically help the environment. For example, two popular eco-friendly self-service projects on the market now are can and bottle recycling kiosks and bicycle-sharing kiosks
Below, several kiosk executives share their opinions on the best ways to go green in the self-service industry.
KIOSK Information Systems
Green times: In its B-cycle kiosks, the company has eliminated the standard AC power and uses Solar power. The devices/cpu are optimized for extreme low power consumption, said Channel Manager Craig Keefner. "The 3G is super low power impact. All usual resources are conserved to the max in order for the unit to function."
KIOSK not only builds B-cycle kiosks, it's also the company behind the Waste Management/Pepsi Greenopolis kiosks that promote recycling. Another green kiosk the company makes is monitoring/display units for utility companies to educate consumers on how they manage power and how consumers use it.
"We get requests all the time from industries, companies, educational and more for units which want all types of kiosks to promote green and environment," Keefner said. "That's the market for green kiosks -- education and communication -- in my opinion."
That being said, KIOSK does build kiosks out of recycled steel and is also concerned with designing efficiency with intelligent power consumption/usage/heat.
"Just the energy consumption of PCs and cost per kilowatt multiplied over 1,000 units becomes an ongoing cost factor," Keefner said. "That is one of the big arguments for thin clients, for example, where the energy cost savings pay for the units many times over. Standard PCs are sitting now at about 200W with a large LCD running 50W plus other devices. Thin or micro PCs do the job at 10W (and less). That also begins to bring POE devices/infrastructure into focus as well."
Green times: For the United Kingdom-based company, the holy grail of an eco kiosk is one that can be safely and environmentally recycled when it no longer has any use. It must also have the ability to run using as little energy as possible, said David Gibbins of Dicoll.
"Our aim is to use the lowest possible energy to drive the kiosk system whilst ensuring the lowest possible carbon footprint we can through low powered component integration," he said.
Dicoll's green or eco-friendly kiosks cost around £350 to £400 ($560-640 US) more than a standard kiosk but use a low-powered LED display and a lower-powered PC.
"The result of this is a saving on consumption usage," he said. "Individual kiosks or small quantities of kiosks will help save the planet ultimately and will make some difference. Green kiosks come into their own when someone is looking to roll out hundreds of kiosks. The low-powered LED displays and PCs will make a big difference."
Dicoll was recently involved in the bidding process for a large number of green kiosks compared to standard kiosks. Although Gibbins said he's not sure if the project will happen, the numbers his company projected (based upon a typical kiosk power consumption of up to 200 watts, compared to the LED and low powered PC consumption of 24 watts per hour) there could be a potential savings of up to 83 percent on the running costs.
"It appears obvious that through the use of new LED display technology and through the use of low powered PCs, the potential overall saving annually, based on 3,000 kiosks is an impressive £202,770.($324,776 U.S.)
The potential savings over a three-year period could be about at £608,310 ($974,330 U.S.)
Green times: Phoenix Kiosk, based in Tempe, Ariz., also implores a few green techniques, said Richard Bernstein, who directs the company's marketing team.
The company not only uses Cardinal Paint, an eco-friendly company, for Powder Coating., all of its enclosures are manufactured from recycled steel, and its recyclable packaging is made up of more than 75 percent of post-consumer recycled materials. Phoenix also works with a company to recycle any leftover cords/electronics it doesn't use.
Green times: Although CEO Frank Olea said his company promotes a green kiosk model by building most of them from steel, the most recycled material on the planet, and painting the machines with Powdercoat technology, which has a low VOC rating, releasing less gases into the air like a normal wet paint, going green isn't yet a major concern for most of his clients.
"Oddly enough we've had a few calls over the years, but nobody wants to pay any more money than they have to," said Olea, whose company built the original Greenopolis kiosk model. "I suspect at the end of the day if I could offer someone a 'greener kiosk' or a truly 'green kiosk' for the same price as a normal kiosk we'd sell them like crazy. But if they cost even $20 dollars more, most customers will turn it down. Green, it seems, has not yet hit businesses like everyone thinks it has. At the very least it has not hit purchasing departments."
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Cherryh Butler has been a reporter for nearly 10 years, writing on a variety of topics ranging from the restaurant industry to business and health and fitness news. Before joining FastCasual.com as editor, she oversaw KioskMarketplace.com and PizzaMarketplace.com and contributed to RetailCustomerExperience.com. She's also written for several daily newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine.