Apple recently announced it will not certify its products with EPEAT. EPEAT is a non-profit organization that certifies “environmentally preferable products”. It is also a program that is backed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
EPEAT would affect Apple’s sales to some governments and educational institutions which require EPEAT certification as a prerequisite for purchase. But how does this affect Apple? According to the blog Apple and EPEAT: What it means the sale of Apple computers to government and educational institutions is a tiny fraction of Apple’s total sales. The real market lies in the consumer market which demands products like their ultra-thin MacBook Pro. According to a Wall Street Journal blog Apple Removes Green Electronics Certification From Products, this laptop design requires the battery to be glued to the case, making disassembly and recycling difficult. This causes the computer to fall behind EPACTS stringent recycling requirements.
But does parting ways with EPEAT mean Apple products are not green? Hardly.
According to CNN Apple abandons green certification Apple meets Energy Star 5.2 requirements for energy efficiency and lead the pack in reporting each product’s greenhouse gas emissions on their website and removal of toxic material. Yet all these achievements go unrecognized in the eyes of an inflexible rating system.
What does this mean for buildings? Are conventional environmental certifications constraining design and end-user needs that buildings need to meet to qualify? We think so. That’s why SERF affords some flexibility and rewards innovation in green building certification.