The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator

Background

The Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator is intended to assist institutional purchasers, including Federal Electronic Challenge (FEC) program participants, in quantifying the benefits of environmentally sound management of electronic equipment. The Calculator estimates the environmental and economic benefits of purchasing EPEAT-registered products, in addition to improvements in equipment operation and end-of-life management practices. Currently this tool is designed to evaluate EPEAT-registered desktop (with a CRT or LCD) and notebook computers. As EPEAT expands to include additional products, so could the tool. For end-of-life, users can calculate the benefits of reuse and recycling of computers as well as mobile telephones.

The FEC and EPEAT programs specify product design criteria and management activities based on environmental attributes (e.g., the elimination of toxic chemicals, the use of recycled materials, power consumption) or program activity (e.g., equipment reuse and recycling). This project developed environmental performance metrics and quantitative tools that translate attributes and activities into environmental benefits, including:

As an example, users of the calculator tool can simply enter the number of bronze EPEAT-registered products purchased, and the calculator tool will provide a breakdown of the resulting environmental benefits. Users can also perform more advanced calculations and comparisons of the environmental benefits of silver and gold EPEAT-registered products by entering additional data on which optional criteria a product meets. The ability to demonstrate achievements can help justify potential price premiums for "greener" electronics and allow purchasers to communicate the environmental results of their procurement efforts. The calculator tool can also be used to demonstrate the aggregated environmental benefits resulting from the sale of EPEAT-registered products, and thus the overall benefits of the EPEAT and FEC programs.

The University of Tennessee, with support from Abt Associates and Dillon Environmental Associates, developed this calculator under a cooperative agreement with US EPA. The calculator tool is currently available in an Excel Spreadsheet format. EPA plans to make the calculator tool available as a web-based tool in the future.

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Acknowledgements

The University of Tennessee would like to acknowledge the contributions of Maria Leet Socolof, Abt Associates, Inc., and Patricia Dillon, Dillon Environmental Associates, for their outstanding work during the development of this tool. We would also like to acknowledge members of the project Advisory Committee and the Peer Reviewers for their invaluable assistance in the development of this tool.

Advisory Committee:

John Burkitt, Hewlett-Packard; Holly Elwood, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); John Katz, EPA; Christopher Newman, EPA; Dmitriy Nikolayev, Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Sarah O'Brien, Hospitals for a Healthy Environment; Jeff Omelchuck, Green Electronics Council; Viccy Salazar, EPA; Mark Schaffer, Dell; Wayne Rifer, Green Electronics Council.

Peer Reviewers:

Mary Ann Curran, EPA; Paris Dieker, Hewlett-Packard; Brandi Farwig, ReCellular, Inc.; Sara Hartwell, EPA; Clare Lindsay, EPA; Eric Masanet, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory; Katharine Kaplan Osdoba, ENERGY STAR program, EPA; Christy Piper, EPA; Mark Schaffer, Dell; Wayne Rifer, Green Electronics Council; Atam Sikrit, U.S. Department of Energy.

Version 2.0 Developers:

Maria Leet Socolof, Abt Associates; Patricia Dillon, Dillon Environmental Associates; Brian Segal, Abt Associates; Jack Geibig, University of Tennessee.

Version 2.0 Reviewers:

Cate Berard, EPA; Charles Bevington, EPA; Barbara Matos, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Louis Martino, U.S. Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory; Katie Miller, Office of the Federal Environmental Executive; Jenny Stephenson, EPA; Kim Bartels, EPA Region 8.

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Center for Clean Products
Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE)
311 Conference Center Building, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4134
Phone: 865-974-4251 • Fax: 865-974-1838 • Email: isse@utk.edu

 

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