Green PC registry is expanding
In a relatively short time, the EPEAT system (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) has become the green standard for computer products in the U.S. And now the rating program — which ranks PCs and displays based on 51 environmental criteria and compiles the information into a searchable database — is expanding its reach internationally.
With the expansion, buyers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Mexico will be able to assess products based on environmental performance in their country. Jeff Omelchuck, EPEAT’s executive director, said the program’s rapid progress is a sign of the growing importance of green in the consumer electronics industry.
“When the registry launched in 2006 on opening day we had 3 participating manufacturers…we had 30 or 40 products,” Omelchuck said. “Today we have the participation of all leading multi-national manufacturers: HP, Dell, Apple, Lenovo, Toshiba Fujitsu, Acer, Asus, really anybody you can name. And a larger number of small local manufacturers.”
EPEAT’s registry features roughly 1,300 products and more than 30 manufacturers. Omelchuck said more than $60 billion worth of purchase contracts now require that the products be EPEAT-registered. U.S. federal agencies are required to buy EPEAT-registered products for at least 95 percent of their needs.
EPEAT rates products “gold,” “silver” or “bronze,” and Omelchuck said progress in the industry can be seen by the improved ratings. When the standard launched, he said it was a roughly 50/50 split for silver and bronze rated products, with no gold. Now, he said, around 25 percent of products carry the gold rating.
EPEAT, which is looking to eventually expand its coverage to products such as printers, servers and smartphones, is managed by the Green Electronics Council, a nonprofit based in Portland, Ore.