Federal Agencies Set Higher Standards for Energy Efficient Products

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Perhaps the best precedent for requiring broader federal participation in electronics recycling is the Energy Star program, co-sponsored by

Fast Fact

The Consumer Electronics Association reports that 1 3.4 million computers were recycled in 2007, compared with 7.3 million in 2005.

Government electronics recycling programs include the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The Act bars companies with more than 220pounds of hazardous waste from depositing it in landfills.

EPA and the Department of Energy. According to EPA, in 2004 alone, Energy Star products helped save approximately $10 billion in energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to that produced by 20 million automobiles. Also, in 2005, public awareness of Energy Star reached over 60 percent. Because of Energy Star's high profile, EPA officials told us that although manufacturers do not have to design their products to meet Energy Star criteria, many manufacturers view Energy Star as a de facto requirement for design of their products—suggesting that if their products do not have the Energy Star label then they are at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace.

According to an EPA official who has worked on the Energy Star program since its inception, part of Energy Star's success can be attributed to two executive orders that required federal agencies to purchase products equipped with Energy Star features. Specifically, Executive Order 12845, issued in 1993, required federal agencies to procure computers and monitors that meet Energy Star requirements for energy efficiency. This EPA official told us that the early suc-

cess of Energy Star was enhanced by this executive order. Executive Order 13123, issued in 1999, directs federal agencies to select Energy Star products when procuring any energy-using product. For product groups where Energy Star labels are not yet available, agencies are directed to select products that are in the upper 25 percent of energy efficiency, as designated by the Federal Energy Management Program.

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