Electronics and Electronics Use Policies

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Electronics Stewardship

Product stewardship means that all who make, distribute, use, and dispose of products share responsibility for reducing the environmental impact of those products. The EPA's goal is to promote greater electronics product stewardship and intends to work towards this goal in a number of ways.

  1. Foster a life-cycle approach to product stewardship, including environmentally conscious design, manufacturing, and toxics reduction for new electronic products.
  2. Extend the useful life of electronics by upgrading components (rather than automatic replacement).
  3. Increase reuse and recycling of used electronics.
  4. Ensure that management of old electronics is safe and environmentally sound.
  5. Reduce the energy footprint of electronic equipment by purchasing EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) registered products and enabling energy saving features in operations.

To promote these goals, Region 8 is engaged in many programs/initiatives, which include:

EPEAT Exit- is a tool designed to help institutional purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, laptops and monitors based on their environmental attributes with qualified product designations of bronze, silver, or gold.

Electronic equipment (such as computers, PDAs, cellphones, and our LAN) are major energy consumers and a primary focus of the Region's Environmental Management System. Leaving a computer on for 24 hours a day instead of shutting it off costs about $26 a year and generates 44 percent more CO2 equivalent per year.

Region 8 verifies that all monitors and PC’s are EPEAT qualified. For equipment that is not covered by EPEAT (Printers, Copiers, Fax, MFP's, and TV's) we verify that each has at least 3 preferable key environmental attributes (PKEA).

Some preferable key environmental attributes (PKEA) include:

  • Reduced Toxics Constituents
    Pile of old computers ready to be recycled
  • Increased Recycled or Biobased Content
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Reduced Materials Use
  • Reduced Consumables Use
  • Extendable Product Life
  • Designed for Upgrade and Recycling
  • Take Back Options
  • Environmentally Preferable Packaging
  • Positive Corporate Environmental Policy

Energy Star Exit- promotes energy-efficient products through its labeling and education program.

  • As a Region 8 standard, we have double-sided printing set on all Multi-Function Printers as a default.
  • Annually track paper usage by printer and department to monitor trends and printing demand.
  • Promote scan-to-email and PIN printing features whenever possible to encourage less paper and ink consumption.
  • Multi-Function Printer toner cartridges are returned to the manufacture for proper recycling
  • Pro-actively manage features such as sleep mode and standby on all monitors, PC’s and printers.
  • We have an on-going effort to reduce the number of desktop printers and use common use Multi-Function printers for the majority of printing needs.
  • Pro-active monitoring of our data center power usage to track energy savings of our Virtual Machines (VM) environment.

To encourage our Region to purchase equipment that meets the FEC standard, we publish our desktop standards on our internal website. The makes, models, and configurations of those systems are reviewed and updated by the IT staff on a regular basis to keep current with availability of hardware, changes in technology, and changes to FEC requirements.

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Lifecycle Management Policies

Region 8 is committed to meeting the Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC) Lifecycle requirements for IT equipment purchasing and operation. For purchasing, this means the IT equipment purchased for regional use should be environmentally preferable and Electronics Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) GOLD registered products, when applicable.

Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC) - is a partnership program that encourages federal facilities and agencies to: purchase greener electronic products; reduce impacts of electronic products during use; and manage obsolete electronics in an environmentally responsible manner.

Region 8 has been recognized by the FEC and awarded GOLD status for electronic Stewardship for 2009 and 2010. In 2011 Region 8 has applied for FEC Platinum status.

To reduce energy use, the Region has established life cycle management policies for electronic equipment. Specifically, the Region has taken the following steps:

  • Established procedures to procure electronic equipment that meets ENERGY STAR and Federal Electronic Challenge recommended ratings.
  • Upgraded all of the Region's computer monitors from CRT (cathode ray tube) to LCD (liquid crystal display) models, which creates significant energy savings.
  • Programmed all desktop and laptop computers to use power-save utilities that automatically put monitors to "sleep" when not in use.
  • Updated and consolidated general use printers, standalone copiers, scanners, and fax machines (originally numbering over 200), to just 50 multi-function devices (equipment that scans, e-mails, faxes, prints or copies) shared among all regional users.
  • Paper use is one of the Region's major environmental impacts. Multifunction devices make it very easy to scan and e-mail documents instead of making paper copies and sending them through inter-office mail. Research completed during the move indicates that each multifunction device uses about 80 percent less energy than the convenience copiers they replaced, and the multifunction devices are also less expensive to operate.

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