Green IT specs now required

Going green is not only the right thing to do; it is what agencies must do. Two recent policy actions formalize a requirement that agencies must buy environmentally friendly technology products and look for opportunities internally to expand their environmental and energy-saving efforts.

Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council members agreed to change the Federal Acquisition Regulation to require use of the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool when acquiring PC products. EPEAT is a set of performance criteria developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers to help purchasers compare and select computer products based on their environmental attributes.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy published a proposed policy letter that outlines agency responsibilities for acquiring green products and services, including information technology. The companion actions establish steps that agencies must take to implement President Bush’s environmental executive order issued Jan. 26, 2007.

“Keeping America competitive requires innovation,” said OFPP Administrator Paul Denett. “Procurement of sustainable green products and services will make the federal government a leader in using new, innovative, greener and cleaner products and services that are better for our environment.”

Industry has observed increased interest in green products among agencies. When green products are mandatory, agencies will buy them, said Jim Russell, Symantec’s public sector vice president. Both policy actions were published in the Federal Register — the FAR amendment on Dec. 26 and the OFPP-proposed policy letter on Dec. 28. The FAR amendment is effective now, but it could be revised after a comment period. The policy letter will take effect after a comment period. Comments are due Feb. 25 for the FAR amendment and Feb. 26 for the proposed policy letter.

The proposed policy letter contains a requirement for agencies to purchase EPEAT electronics, but it is much broader than the FAR amendment. It covers procurement beyond electronics and requires agencies to modernize policy, said an OMB official who requested anonymity.

“This policy letter is an attempt to consolidate and capture in one place all of the acquisition-related sustainability requirements for procurement personnel,” the official said. The proposed letter asks agencies to identify opportunities and give preference to green products and services.

Agencies will first consider mandatory and preferred sources to obtain green products and services that meet their performance needs. When environmental and energy-saving products are not designated, agencies should automatically substitute green products and services in place of others, Denett said in the proposed policy letter.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.