Criteria for Green HiFi

Six different criteria for determining how eco-friendly audio equipment is - an effort to establish a baseline rating system.

(image courtesy of

(image courtesy of

Products that are green should be energy efficient, of course, but for our purposes here, I think they should also meet other criteria. I have laid these out with explanations below. Actually, I will try and use these criteria not just with equipment, but also with whole companies, and since anthropomorphizing is de rigueur these days, why not also apply it to people? We might find out some interesting things about how green our whole industry is.


  1. Does product/company use much energy?
    I suppose this is the most obvious criteria. Does the component use a lot of electricity when in use? What about when idle or in stanby? Does it waste a lot of electricity, typically in heat?

  2. Is the product made to last?
    Products that last longer will be better for the environment because they will not be disposed of so quickly. Most HiFi equipment will last 20+ years and with careful maintenance and repairs, much longer. If the product is disposable with a definite end of life manufactured into it (think iPads & many cars), then this would be less green.

  3. Is the packaging for the product/company green?
    Does the packaging use recycled materials and is it excessive or too little? Also, if the size & weight appropriate for its use or is it excessively big & heavy, which then requires more resources to ship?

  4. Does product/company use dangerous components?
    Do the parts that make it up adhere to environmental regulations? Is the shipping product different in countries with stricter laws? Does the company have a good reputation for minimizing pollution at its factories?

  5. Does the product/company company treat its employees fairly?
    This is not always easy to determine since parts can be purchased from third parties. If so, do they make an effort to ensure those third parties treat their employees fairly? Does the product attempt to use local labor rather than distant labor?

  6. Does the product/company have a life-cycle policy?
    Are there plans to recycle products at the end of their useful life? Do they monitor the companies that they contract with to dispose of the products?

  7. Is the product/company fairly priced?
    This is a difficult question to answer so I’ll leave that up to the companies and individuals to answer that. We can then discuss if this is acceptable. The main point here is that more expensive products, even if very green, do a disservice to the effort because so few people can then afford them. Expense also ties into the production and distribution of money, and ultimately into questions of fairness in local/state/world economies.



Those would be my criteria for evaluating green products. I will attempt to rate each product/company (and sometimes individuals persons? - just kidding) on a scale of 1-5 for each of these criteria.