White House Pushes Feds to Buy Green Computers

White House Pushes Feds to Buy Green Computers

In January, President Bush signed an executive order requiring that 95 percent of all new computer purchases by federal agencies meet EPEAT environmental standards. At this week's FOSE conference, which brings together IT professionals from all branches of the government, officials from the White House Council on Environmental Quality celebrated the computer manufacturers that make environmentally preferable computers and monitors.

"President Bush's executive order speaks for itself. Federal agencies must buy EPEAT registered products when the products meet agency needs," explained Edwin Pinero, the Federal Environmental Executive. "Highly advanced, affordable, and environmentally-preferable computers are already being sought by the Department of Homeland Security, NASA, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Executive Office of the President."

In order to make the EPEAT list, which is currently administered by the Green Electronics Council, products must meet at least 23 baseline criteria. EPEAT-registered computers have reduced levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury to better protect human health and the environment, as well as being more energy efficient, and including safe recycling options from the manufacturer.

EPEAT products earn a earn a designation of EPEAT Bronze, Silver or Gold, depending on how many of the 28 optional criteria the products meet in addition to the baseline criteria.

At the FOSE conference, Jeff Omelchuck, director of the Green Electronics Council, thanked both the manufacturers and President Bush for their efforts. "The manufacturers represented here today make it possible for federal agencies and other IT purchasers to meet their computing needs while reducing their environmental footprint. We are thrilled to see federal purchasing power promoting significant environmental improvements in the electronics industry. We are even more thrilled to see how aggressively manufacturers are working to meet and exceed strong environmental standards."

Fifteen companies are currently enrolled in the program; Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo currently offer the most EPEAT-certified products, with 60, 50 and 47 products, respectively. A full list of the nearly 400 EPEAT-registered products are available from EPEAT.net.

The EPA has estimated the benefits of adopting EPEAT electronics across the federal government. After four years of green computer usage, the EPA predicts the government will save $71.4 million in energy costs; reduce energy use by 824 gigawatt-hours, enough to power 72,630 households for a year; reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 64,700 metric tons of carbon equivalent, which is equal to removing 51,317 cars from the road for a year; and reduce hazardous waste by 2,820 metric tons.