EPEAT Frequently Asked Questions

Is EPEAT® an industry-created system or a government program?

Neither. The EPEAT system was developed and is managed through an open process involving representatives from all stakeholder groups. Manufacturing, environmental advocacy, academic, trade association, government and recycling entities all actively participate. Please see the other About EPEAT sections of this website to learn more about the history and management of EPEAT.

What are the principles on which EPEAT was developed?

EPEAT was designed to:

  • Provide an environmental assessment tool for purchasers
  • Provide marketplace rewards for innovation by clearly recognizing products that reduce environmental and health impacts

Why is an environmental procurement tool for electronics necessary?

Before EPEAT was available, purchasers struggled to identify which attributes made one product environmentally superior to another. Manufacturers also struggled to secure market recognition for their efforts to reduce the environmental impact of products.

Today, the EPEAT registry helps purchasers identify, compare and select environmentally preferable products and provides manufacturers with clear and consistent environmental criteria for the design and development of products. Please see the other About EPEAT sections of this website to learn more about the history and management of EPEAT.

What electronic products does EPEAT cover?

The EPEAT registry currently includes desktops, laptops/notebooks, workstations, thin clients, displays (computer monitors), televisions, printers, copiers, scanners, multifunction devices, fax machines, digital duplicators and mailing machines. Environmental standards for additional device categories may be considered for inclusion on the EPEAT registry at a later date.

What categories of environmental attributes does EPEAT cover?

EPEAT criteria currently address multiple categories of environmental attributes covering the full product lifecycle — including design, energy use and recycling. You can read more here.

How does EPEAT evaluate products?

The EPEAT system rates electronic products against a range of environmental performance criteria. Products must meet all required criteria to be registered in EPEAT at the Bronze level. They may then be registered as Silver or Gold based on the percentage of optional criteria they meet above that baseline. Please search the registry to review which optional criteria a specific product meets.

Why is EPEAT a declare-and-verify system? Why isn’t precertification required?

Electronics experience very high rates of change in components and sourcing from product launch through the end of their commercial lives. Given this tremendous variability, pre-certification based on a one-time investigation before a product is released is fundamentally inadequate. EPEAT’s original stakeholder developers consciously designed a system that requires manufacturers to commit to providing accurate information throughout their product’s lifecycle and to remedying any inaccuracies discovered during EPEAT’s rigorous Desk Review and Verification processes. For more information, please see the Verification section.

Is EPEAT stronger or weaker than existing environmental regulations?

As a voluntary standard, EPEAT helps drive and reward environmental innovation among manufacturers, whereas regulations typically aim to remedy current problems.

In developing EPEAT criteria, stakeholders considered existing regulatory requirements at the national and international levels and whenever possible matched or exceeded these levels to avoid conflict. EPEAT’s strength lies in its comprehensiveness as a system that addresses all stages of a product’s lifecycle.

Who develops EPEAT criteria?

The original EPEAT Development Team — comprising representatives from all stakeholder groups involved in the design, development, purchase and management of electronics — developed draft criteria for the computer and display category. These draft criteria were then submitted to the IEEE for development into an IEEE American National standard.

As standards-development organizations (through open, consensus-based stakeholder processes) develop and publish appropriate environmental standards for electronic product categories, the Green Electronics Council (manager of the EPEAT Registry) will review and consider adopting them as the basis for new product categories in the EPEAT Registry. Please see the EPEAT criteria section for more detail.

Who was on the original EPEAT Development Team?

The original EPEAT Development Team consisted of a broad group of people expert in environmental issues and the design, purchasing and management of IT assets. These individuals included public and private purchasers, manufacturers, environmental advocates, recyclers, technical researchers and regulators. Please see the other About EPEAT sections of this website to learn more about the history and management of EPEAT.

What principles guided the development of criteria in the computer and display category?

The original EPEAT Development Team agreed on a specific set of goals for EPEAT:

  • Provide marketplace rewards for innovation by clearly recognizing products that reduce environmental and health impacts
  • Be inexpensive and avoid introducing delays in time-to-market
  • Be transparent and offer flexibility to product designers
  • Be voluntary but inviting for manufacturers
  • Address end-of-life issues faced by the reuse and recycling community
  • Be simple and clear to purchasing officials
  • Accurately indicate products with environmentally preferable design

Why should manufacturers use EPEAT?

EPEAT enables manufacturers to:

  • Gain access to purchasing contracts around the world that require EPEAT-registered products; collectively, these contracts are worth billions of dollars
  • Demonstrate their commitment to greener design and development
  • Participate in a low-cost, flexible and user-friendly registry that does not delay time to market

For more information, please see the Manufacturers section.

Why should purchasers use EPEAT?

The EPEAT registry is the leading resource for finding electronic products that reduce environmental impact—and potentially energy costs. EPEAT covers the most products from the broadest range of manufacturers and is the only registry that combines comprehensive criteria for design, production, energy use and recycling with ongoing independent verification of manufacturer claims. The EPEAT system was designed with purchaser input, so it offers easy-to-use features like head-to-head product comparison and product search by manufacturer or geography. For more information, please see the Purchasers page.