Environmentally Preferred Products
Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) and services have a lesser or reduced negative effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This comparison applies to raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, use, reuse, operation, maintenance, and disposal. Environmentally preferable products possess more than one environmentally friendly attribute.
Federal Acquisition Regulation: The following sections of Part 23 pertain to environmentally preferable products:
- FAR 23.703 requires agencies to implement cost-effective green contracting preference programs, employ sustainable acquisition strategies, and consider the use of biobased products;
- FAR 23.704 requires contracts for contractor operation of government facilities to include compliance measures for environmental mandates; and
- FAR 23.705 requires agencies to meet at least 95 percent of their annual acquisition requirement for electronic products categorized by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), unless there is no EPEAT standard for such products.
Executive Orders: EO 13514 [PDF - 113K] requires federal agencies to:
- Ensure that 95 percent of new contract actions, including task and delivery orders for products and services, are environmentally preferable (e.g., EPEAT registered), where such products and services meet agency performance requirements;
- Promote electronic stewardship by:
- Ensuring procurement preference for EPEAT-registered electronic products; and
- Establishing and implementing policies to enable power management, duplex printing, and other energy-efficient or environmentally preferable features on all eligible agency electronic products; and
- Implement strategies and accommodations for transit, travel, training, and conferencing that actively support lower-carbon commuting and travel by agency staff.
EO 13423 requires agencies to acquire and use EPP products and services.
EPEAT: Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registered products fall under the EPP category because EPEAT products are energy-efficient and have other environmental attributes, such as recycled content components or the elimination of toxic components.
While there is no designated list of environmentally preferable products and services, the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive (OFEE) and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) encourage agencies to purchase the following, based on a history of successful procurement within the federal community or EO requirements:
- EPEAT-registered products;
- ENERGY STAR® office electronic equipment that has duplexing capability;
- Green cleaning products and services, including biobased cleaning products;
- Green meeting and conference services; and
- Environmentally preferable construction products and materials, such as paint with no or low volatile organic content (VOCs), or native landscaping plants.
The EPEAT program evaluates desktop computers, notebook computers, and monitors on 51 environmental criteria. Based on the number of criteria a product meets, a manufacturer can register the product as a bronze, silver, or gold EPEAT product. If available, Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) purchasers are asked to give preference to EPEAT registered products.
At a minimum, all EPEAT badged products are compliant with the ENERGY STAR® standards set when the product was released.
Optional standards include:
- Early adoption of new ENERGY STAR® specifications;
- Commercially available accessories to power the product with renewable energy; and
- Standard shipping of accessories to power the product with renewable energy.
EPEAT also evaluates products based on biobased content and recycled content attributes. For more information, visit the EPEAT website (this link leads to a nongovernment website).
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a Database of Environmental Information for Products and Services that assists the buyer in finding EPPs. This database is online. It is searchable by product category or product name. When ordering an EPP, make sure to request a product that contains multiple environmental attributes to satisfy the requirement to purchase EPP products, when attempting to buy from a GSA schedule.
GSA Advantage!® and GSA Global Supply™ identify EPEAT-registered products with the EPEAT logo. Be sure to select the EPEAT box in either of these online ordering systems when searching for desktop computers, notebook computers, and monitors.