EPEAT Partners with DEKRA to Further Global Reach

EPEAT Partners with DEKRA to Further Global Reach

EPEAT will join forces with an international consulting firm to expand use of its green electronics rating system worldwide.

The partnership with DEKRA Inc. aims to capitalize on demand for EPEAT, formally known as the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool. Interest has swelled since it was first unveiled by the Green Electronics Council (GEC) in 2006. Nearly two years after GEC took EPEAT global, 48 manufacturers from 41 countries have now certified more than 3,200 environmentally preferable products to the EPEAT standard.

But it's been a constant struggle for the GEC -- and all four of its employees -- to keep up with interest in EPEAT, said Sarah O'Brien, who handles outreach and communications for EPEAT and the GEC.

"Growth and demand outstripping resources has always been EPEAT's biggest challenge," she said.

EPEAT's IEEE 1680 family of public standards covers desktops, laptops, thin clients, workstations and computer monitors. Criteria includes eliminating toxic materials, take-back and recycling availability, longevity and energy efficiency.

In the U.S., EPEAT products accounted for 42 percent of desktop and laptop sales in 2009, the last year for which data is available. Globally, EPEAT-certified products captured nearly 17 percent of desktop and laptop sales. The GEC estimates these 2009 purchases of EPEAT products would save more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity alone, avoiding some two million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

O'Brien explained that the partnership with DEKRA will include training of DEKRA's internal staff to create a network of EPEAT experts that can educate new and existing clients about buying EPEAT-certified products or manufacturing products that meet the standard.

DEKRA, with its 25,000-plus workforce and offices around the world, including China, European Union and Latin America, will also host information hotlines to field EPEAT inquiries in local languages. This follows the appointment of six organizations in December to be certification, labeling and testing bodies in the U.S., China, Taiwan and Germany.