EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) the green electronics rating system from The Green Electronics Council in the US, has ratcheted up the Energy Star requirement for registered products. It’s the result of a revision of the underlying IEEE 1680 standard and will be permanent. Any EPEAT registered products that do not meet the current ENERGY STAR 5.0 standards will be ‘archived’.
EPEAT originally allowed a listed product to remain on its registry for up to six months following a new Energy Star specification. But as of now all EPEAT products must meet the most recent Energy Star specification immediately to remain on the registry.
EPEAT has made a lot of ground in the last year and is the clear leader in assessing how green IT products are. The program evaluates computer desktops, laptops and monitors on 51 environmental criteria. Thin client devices and workstations were added in 2009 and new standards for printers are being developed. EPEAT now covers 41 countries and includes over 40 manufacturers and more than 1,000 registered products.
But EPEAT’s real strength is that it’s a purchasing requirement for all US Federal Agencies, which has resulted in other governments following suit. The standard has been integrated into hundreds of government, education, health care and enterprise IT contracts worldwide.
Green ICT is an area crying out for standards so that ICT users can confidently adopt the best processes, practices and technologies. EPEAT has certainly achieved that around the products it evaluates. It’s good to see the rules getting stricter. It just needs to be expanded to as wide a product base as possible and as soon as possible.