(Updated June 12 to include comment about upcoming support for server technologies) The group behind the EPEAT database are one step closer to adding printing and imaging technologies to the mix, along with certain consumer electronics devices. EPEAT currently provides environmental ratings for monitors, notebook computers, desktops, all-in-one computers and other client technologies. Those ratings are based on the materials used in manufacturing, energy efficiency, and the end-of-life implications associated with disposing of technologies at the end of their life.|
There are currently close to 50 manufacturers involved in submitting their products for ratings, and more than 2,800 products in the database that are deemed greener than competitive offerings.EPEAT recently added several product review and assessment organizations to help certify new ones, so that the database can keep growing. EPEAT has been working on the imaging and television environmental ratings for close to three years; it plans to use the IEEE 1680 standards. Those standards have been passed by more than 75 percent of the IEEE voting community and should be published and implemented in late 2012, according to EPEAT. Adding the imaging and television products will more than double EPEAT’s market reach, pushing more into the consumer market. One reason for EPEAT’s cachet is that the ratings are required now for many federal government purchasing contracts, and the business world now uses them as a guidepost for product selection. In fact, EPEAT says that more than $65 billion in purchasing contracts now make specific reference to EPEAT requirements.
The big gap, for me, remains the fact that EPEAT doesn’t cover servers or storage devices. It clearly is much more focused on the client technology and consumer side of the equation. So my guess is that after the imaging technologies are added, you’re likely to see EPEAT move to figure out a strategy for smartphones and tablet computers.
It’s logical considering its past focus and the enormous electronic waste issue being exacerbated by rapid mobile technology adoption. At least, that’s where I hope it will focus next. Addition (June 12, 2012): Received a note from the EPEAT spokeswoman, who said progress is being made on support for rating servers.
She reports that several stakeholder committees that will guide this process are scheduled to meet over the next several weeks..
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