Organisations in the UK now have guidelines as to the impact their IT equipment will have on the environment. EPEAT, the product registry, has been phenomenally successful in the US and has been now be expanded internationally so that users outside the US can receive information on a product's energy efficiency.
Tashweka Anderson , sustainable IT business manager at Computacenter, one of EPEAT's partners explained the thinking behind the registry. "This is more than just energy ratings," she said. "The EPEAT ratings tell you the product is handled throughout its lifecycle, covering things like manufacture, packaging and disposal. The ratings vary for each country, which is why the international registry is so important."
There are many environmental guidelines around but Anderson said that most of these referred just to data centres - the EPEAT ones had a wider remit. She said that the EPEAT ratings didn't seek to replace existing guidelines, for example Energy Star ratings but were seen as complementary.
"The Energy Star provide useful information about energy consumption said Anderson but the EPEAT ratings give much more detail."There are three ratings: Bronze - which means that product complies to the 23 criteria of the EPEAT ratings; Silver which means that it complies with the criteria as well as at least 14 of the additional, optiona criteria and Gold, which means that it complies with 21 of the additional 28 criteria." These criteria include including toxic reduction, energy efficiency, design for easy recycling, and greener packaging.
Anderson said that there was a growing interest in adhering to environmental standards. "It's something we are asked for by customers. A lot of tender documents these days ask about environmental impact."