A system that helps purchasers evaluate, compare and select electronic products based on their environmental impact.
By Ben Knight
Getting a new computer for your Design Strategy work?
Check EPEAT first and make sure you choose an environmentally friendly one.
While I was a student in the Pratt Design Management program, I became deeply engrossed in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) association. I was so interested that I did a Design Management assessment of the organization. While doing research as a donor and advocate for OLPC, I came across a great tool that assessed the environmental impact of computers. The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a computer standards system that looks at the life cycle, carbon use and related environmental aspects of computers. Unfortunately, EPEAT does not take into account the companies that create the computers, the stability of the company, the employees that work for the companies or Triple Bottom Line accounting. Nevertheless, the EPEAT standards are a great place to start looking at environmental criteria for computers.
As the 21st century becomes more and more digitally integrated, designers have become increasingly dependent on computers. While fully sustainable choices have yet to be seen, we should seek to use the best products available to manage and plan our designed world. The strategic designs we present to the world should be produced by the best tools. To use the most impact-free tools is not only a choice, it’s essential to our credibility as champions for sustainable design.