As a publicly-owned utility, City Light has a deep commitment to our community. Part of that commitment is environmental stewardship, and we recognize that our purchasing choices can have an environmental impact. This year, our efforts to reduce that impact were honored with an EPEAT Purchaser Award from the Green Electronics Council.
Electronics are essential to operating any modern office, but they are also a source of potentially toxic materials (for example, PVC or mercury) and often waste energy through inefficient operations. To address these concerns, the City of Seattle has made it a policy to buy computers with at least a Bronze rating from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, also known as EPEAT.
In 2015, City Light purchased 370 computers rated EPEAT Gold. Over the lifetime of these hyper-efficient computers, 232 MWh of electricity will be saved and 38,600 kg of greenhouse gas emissions will be prevented. Over 3,000 lbs of municipal solid waste were prevented through the use of recycled materials in both the computer and packaging materials.
And the environmental payoff of purchasing through the EPEAT system gets better: All of our computers meet the European Union RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) criteria and are free of cadmium, hexavalent chromium and short-chain chlorinated paraffins. Our desktop standard is even free of PVC, which the City Council addressed in a 2002 resolution to avoid purchasing Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins.
As a result of a proactive approach to reducing environmental harm in our purchasing practices, Seattle was rewarded with a 2016 EPEAT Purchaser Award at the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council meeting on May 23, 2016. Of course, the environmental benefits of sustainable purchasing are the true rewards, and the real winner is the planet.