US Green IT Standard Goes International

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The EPEAT rating has now been extended to Europe in a move which should make it easier for UK organisations to purchase sustainable tech

A green IT rating system supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency has been extended international to include technology purchased in countries in the UK and other European countries.

The EPEAT purchasing registry is now available in over 40 countries according to the organisation that manages it, the Green Electronics Council. The EPEAT system has been described as “one of the most extensive and influential green IT product rating systems” with the US government requiring that 96 percent of the IT procurred for federal departments is EPEAT registered.

“Since launching EPEAT in 2006, we have been overwhelmed by the positive response from large purchasers, manufacturers and consumers across every sector of the global marketplace,” said Jeff Omelchuck, executive director of EPEAT. “With the international registry launch, EPEAT now makes it easy for purchasers in 40 countries around the world to choose green electronics that cut costs, green IT environments and help lead the transition to a prosperous, low-carbon economy.”

According to the Green Electronics Council, EPEAT-registered computers have reduced levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury compared to traditional IT equipment. “They are more energy efficient, which reduces emissions of climate changing greenhouse gases. They are also easier to upgrade and recycle. In fact, manufacturers must offer environmentally responsible recycling options for all EPEAT-registered products,” the organisation states.

Tashweka Anderson, Sustainable IT Business Manager at ComputaCenter UK said that the organisation should help provide clear guidance on how environmentally friendly IT products are without hopefully restricting choice .“We recognised early on that EPEAT provided an effective, credible tool to identify computer hardware solutions for our clients that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, eliminate toxic substances, increase recycled content and reduce energy usage, at no added cost and with no restrictions on product or supplier choice.”

Chris O’Brien, director of sustainability, American University, Washington, D.C agreed that the number of products supported by EPEAT meant that IT purchasers weren’t limited in their choice of products.” EPEAT is a practical way for large computer buyers to reduce their environmental impacts. The system enables purchasers to address dozens of product environmental attributes with one succinct contract requirement, and the breadth of suppliers and products in the system means that an EPEAT specification does not reduce product choices or increase costs,” he said.

The UK government is believed to be working on mandated targets for green IT for the public sector. Speaking at the Green IT ’09 Conference in London in May, cabinet Office deputy champion for green ICT Catalina McGregor, said that the UK has mandated 10 targets out of a wider list of 18 formulated by members of the UK CIO Council. “We are the only country to have mandated targets for green ICT in the world,” she said.

The publication of the Greening Government ICT strategy report in July last year, resulted in 18 steps for the government CIOs to deliver against.

For more on EPEAT go to EPEA.net.