Notes on EPEAT Verification Investigation 2012-05
EPEAT Verification Round 2012-05 tested five different "ultra-thin" notebookcomputers for conformity with two criteria of the EPEAT PC registry requirements. The investigation wasprompted by concerns raised earlier this year in professional publications that speculated whethercertain ultra-thin notebooks might not meet several key environmental criteria of the EPEAT ratingsystem.EPEAT has an established set of procedures to ensure the integrity of its registry for cases such as these.In this case the process included:A.
of the specific technical areas of concern. These were:a.
Upgradeability of componentsb.
Common availability of tools for disassemblyc.
The ability to safely and easily remove key components as part of product disassemblyfor recycling.B.
: EPEAT staff requested a "Clarification" (guidance produced through a formalreview of the standard) of ambiguities in the wording of the relevant IEEE 1680.1 criteria fromthe Product Verification Committee (PVC) - the independent panel of experts that determinesproduct conformity in EPEAT.On July 30, EPEAT received and published clarification #14 addressing the relevant criteria (seehttp://www.epeat.net/verification-clarifications#clarification14 ). That Clarification resolvedseveral key issues for criterion 126.96.36.199, which requires that products be upgradeable, as follows:
Products containing externally accessible ports such as a high performance serial bus or a USB are capable of being upgraded by adding a hard disk, DVD, floppy drive, memory and cards, and therefore conform to this criterion.
A tool is deemed to be “commonly available” as long as it can be purchased by any
individual or business without restrictions and is readily available for purchase on theopen market. The tools may be purchasable at a local retail store, or by any individual or business via a mail or web-based retailer. Tools that are proprietary or require licensingor other agreements between the buyer and seller are not considered commonly available.
However the PVC did not provide a final determination on the definition of the "ease andsafety" required by criteria 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 at end of life. They ruled these qualities must be"demonstrated".C.
: EPEAT staff conducted a broad surveillance investigation reviewing publicly-available technical material for registered products, to determine whether specific products andcriteria were at risk of nonconformance. This review of publicly available data for the universe of smaller, lighter products on the registry determined that unibody construction appeared to