The EPEAT system helps shoppers evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on the products’ environmental attributes. EPEAT evaluates electronic products according to three tiers of environmental performance: Bronze, Silver and Gold.

EPEAT grading use has been recommended to federal IT purchasers by the US government.

Now EPEAT has formally become part of the US Federal Government's purchasing regulations. On practically the last day of 2007, the US government published an 'Interim Final Rule' integrating EPEAT into the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).

This is the book of rules for all Federal purchasers. There is a comment period but the Interim Final designation means that the US government doesn't expect much more than a few minor amendments prior to its adoption.

The existing US government Executive Order 13423 already created a requirement for federal IT buyers to purchase EPEAT products in all relevant product categories, but that requirement was communicated largely to environmental managers in the various agencies, who then had to communicate it to their purchasing staffs and get them to understand what it meant. This took time and allowed for unwitting deviatio from the requirement.

This FAR integration puts it directly in the hands of every federal purchaser as a requirement for all relevant contracts. It's in effect part of their job description. This represents a huge step toward consistent implementation. It represents, in effect, an enlarging of the market for EPEAT-graded IT products.

HP and EPEAT

HP claims it now leads the industry in the number of EPEAT Gold listed products with the introduction of more than two dozen PCs registered in North America at either the Gold or Silver rating levels.

Todd Bradley, HP's Personal Systems Group's EVP, said: “We are dedicated to meeting our energy consumption goal of 25 percent reduction by 2010, and these additional EPEAT-Gold registrations exemplify how HP leads the IT market in reducing the environmental impact of its products and business processes.”

HP in fact was the first PC manufacturer to register an EPEAT Gold product with the HP Compaq rp5700 Long Lifecycle Business Desktop PC in 2007.

New HP business products meeting the most rigorous, Gold status include the HP Compaq 2510p and HP Compaq 2710p Business Notebook series PCs and all models of the HP Compaq dc7800, dc5750 and dc5700 Business Desktop PC families.

HP also has a diverse array of new consumer desktop and notebook PCs that are US EPA ENERGY STAR-qualified and EPEAT Silver listed. The new notebooks include the HP Pavilion dv9700, dv6700, dv2700 and tx1000 series, along with the Compaq Presario A9000, F700 and C700 series. In desktops, HP is introducing the HP Pavilion 6360 available in North America.

It is interesting to note that HP has EPEAT-certified consumer products as well as business ones, anticipating perhaps that EPEAT-certification may become far more widespread than just a federal desktop IT purchasing standard.

The HP Compaq dc7800 Business Desktop PC is loaded with energy-efficient features, and is 46 percent smaller than previous models, delivering maximum energy-efficiency with a standard, 85 percent efficient power supply without compromising performance.

Additionally, the Verdiem SURVEYOR remote power management software agent comes preloaded on all dc7800 series PCs. When activated, SURVEYOR can help measure, manage and reduce power consumption on PCs and monitors by up to 33 percent, or about 200 kilowatt-hours per PC annually.

Outlook for EPEAT

With stronger US government support and an enhanced HP EPEAT-certified product set the EPEAT standard's future looks rosy. It's possible that the Climate Savers' Computing Initiative, which has not endorsed EPEAT, will see the benefits of incorporating EPEAT into its 'green IT ' guidelines. Clearly a unified IT purchasing standard will be a good thing.

In 2008 we might also see the adoption of EPEAT guidelines outside the USA. For example Europe is developing a datacentre code of conduct and European national governments are all looking to see how their own IT purchases can move the carbon reduction agenda forward. By using EPEAT they can take a ready-made desktop IT environmentally-friendly purchasing standard on board and not have to re-invent the wheel. Nothing official has been said but perhaps one can be guardedly optimistic.

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