As of November 1, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated its Recommendations of Specifics, Standards, and Ecolabels (Recommendations) page with new purchase categories of Photovoltaic Modules and Inverters, Power Purchaser Agreements, Energy Saving Performance Contracts, and Network Equipment. The Recommendations page supports federal purchasers in identifying and procuring environmentally preferable products and services. The recent update was in response to December 8, 2021’s “Executive Order 14057: Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability” and the “Federal Sustainability Plan”. Both plans direct federal purchasers to meet net-zero emissions, develop a climate-focused workforce, advance environmental justice, and other procurement goals.
Additionally, EPEAT, a leading global Type-1 ecolabel covering products and services in the technology sector, has been recommended as the only private sector ecolabel for the Photovoltaics Modules and Inverter, Power Purchaser Agreements, Energy Savings Performance Contracts, and Network Equipment purchase categories. EPA added the Photovoltaic Modules and Inverters, Power Purchase Agreements, and Energy Savings Performance Contracts purchase categories to align with updates to the DOE GreenBuy Award Program’s Priority Products list. In addition, the EPA added the Network Equipment purchase category to align with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 23.704(a)(1) requirement for federal purchasers to procure EPEAT-registered products and related services. Federal agencies are encouraged to use the EPEAT ecolabel for guidance when purchasing sustainable electronics and associated services. As of now, the EPEAT ecolabel is recommended under the following EPA purchase categories:
- Energy Saving Performance Contracts
- Imaging Equipment
- Mobile Phones
- Network Equipment
- Print Management Services
- Photovoltaic Modules and Inverters
- Power Purchaser Agreements
- Wireless Services
How EPEAT Assists with Executive Order 14057 and the Federal Sustainability Plan
Executive Order 14057 and the Federal Sustainability Plan set out several goals to both address climate change and catalyze clean energy industries and jobs by leveraging the purchasing power of the US Federal Government’s procurement.
They require US Federal Agencies to:
- Achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030, including 50 percent on a 24/7 basis.
- Reach 100 percent zero-emission vehicle acquisition by 2035, including 100 percent light-duty acquisitions by 2027.
- Achieve net-zero building emissions by 2045, including a 50 percent reduction by 2032.
- Reduce Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent from 2008 levels by 2030.
- Establish targets to reduce energy and potable water use intensity by 2030.
- Reduce procurement emissions to net zero by 2050.
- Have climate-resilient infrastructure and operations.
- Develop a climate- and sustainability-focused workforce.
- Advance environmental justice and equity-focused operations.
- Accelerate progress through domestic and international partnerships.
Chiefly the EPEAT ecolabel will be a critical procurement resource for federal agencies as they move towards reducing their procurement emissions to net zero by 2050.
What is EPEAT?
EPEAT is the world’s leading electronics ecolabel. Registering products through EPEAT helps manufacturers become eligible for major contracts that require more sustainable electronics. EPEAT’s free online Registry lists thousands of products, more than any other electronics ecolabel.
Currently, The EPEAT program is owned and operated by the Global Electronics Council (GEC), a mission-driven non-profit working to create a world of only sustainable technology products and services. The EPEAT criteria are designed to address both attributes of the product and corporate activities of the Manufacturer and are identified as either Required or Optional. Required Criteria must be met for a product to become EPEAT-registered. Optional Criteria represent a Participating Manufacturer’s commitment to innovation in environmental and social performance. Depending on the number of Optional Criteria met, a product may achieve an EPEAT rating of Bronze, Silver, or Gold.
EPEAT’s History with EPA
Founded in 2006, EPEAT was developed out of a 3-year process funded and staffed by the EPA. With the assistance of over 100 stakeholders and GEC, EPA was able to develop the Institute of Electronics and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1680 American National Standard for Environment Assessment of Personal Computer Products, an ANSI-accredited voluntary consensus-based standard that defines environmental performance criteria for computer desktops, laptops, and monitors.
Later in 2007, 24 manufacturers registered over 700 products as meeting the EPEAT criteria as outlined in the IEEE 1680 Standard. Today, procurement professionals have reported purchases of 1.5 billion EPEAT products, generating cost savings of 13.1 billion USD and a reduction of 220 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
“GEC welcomes the EPA’s updated recommendations for PVMI and Network Equipment product purchases. This sends out a clear demand signal for sustainable electronics across federal procurement, particularly as the government moves to more renewable energy and cloud computing” said Carl Smith, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Global Electronics Council.
For more information visit the Recommendations Page. If you are a U.S. federal government employee who would like free access to the EPEAT Registry or have additional questions on where to start your procurement journey, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.