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Coming on the heels of Earth Day, it seems appropriate to highlight an organization that helps electronics consumers make greener choices. Enter EPEAT. For those unfamiliar with EPEAT, it’s a searchable online electronics registry for products that meet or exceed specific environmental impact criteria. This information is freely available to buyers, resellers, governments, and manufacturers. Until this year, EPEAT’s registry was solely focused on computers and displays, with imaging equipment (including scanners, copiers and printers) appearing in recent months. You can now add HDTVs to the list, making EPEAT the first-ever comprehensive environmental standard applied to televisions.

What environmental impact criteria must HDTVs meet to be included in the registry?

EPEAT’s criteria, developed through collaborations with stakeholders across business, government, advocacy, and academic sectors, address environmental impacts over the lifecycle of a television. Energy efficiency (a factor that consumers have historically been concerned about) is only one piece of the puzzle. Examples of other criteria include materials used for packaging, the use of toxic substances during manufacturing and recyclable materials in design, the length of service life (including life-extending factors such as warranties and support services), and environmental impact at expiration. EPEAT even considers a manufacturer’s overall “corporate performance” in complying to ISO environmental standards.

An HDTV must meet a minimum of 24 core criteria to be listed on EPEAT’s registry and is rated on an additional 29 factors that are considered optional. Any television meeting the basic core criteria is awarded a “Bronze” rating. A “Silver” rating is awarded to TVs that meet the core criteria plus at least 50% of the optional criteria, while a “Gold” rating is awarded to TVs that meet the core criteria plus at least 75% of the optional criteria.

Which HDTV manufacturers are in the registry?

Samsung and LG are currently the only manufacturers with HDTVs in the registry. EPEAT lauds these two manufacturers for their participation, highlighting that they account for more than one-third of global HDTV shipments and revenues.

“I commend these pioneering manufacturers for exhibiting leadership and meeting EPEAT’s environmental standards,” said Robert Frisbee, EPEAT CEO. “Purchasers worldwide can now identify and procure great TV technology that’s environmentally preferable as well.”

At this time, 53 LG and 71 Samsung models are included in the EPEAT registry. According to the current ratings, all 124 models from these manufacturers have achieved at least a Silver rating, with 37 Samsung and 5 LG models being awarded a Gold rating.

Past environmental impact of registered electronics

The inclusion of HDTVs in the registry shouldn’t go unnoticed. Over the prior 6 years, EPEAT estimates that the purchase of registered computers and displays have resulted in significant environmental savings. Consider some of their statistics: The equivalent to the annual impact of 11 million US vehicles, the avoidance of roughly 394,000 metric tons of hazardous waste, and the reduction of solid waste by 167,000 metric tons. These numbers demonstrate that manufacturing and buying products that adhere to stricter environmental standards can and will continue to have an impact on the health of our planet.

Image Credit: EPEAT
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