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Information on Standards for Green Products and Services

Key Policy, Guidance Documents

EPA's Final Guidance on EPP

Executive Orders

Federal Acquisition Regulation

Green Purchasing Guides

Information on Standards for Green Products, Services

EPA works with a variety of non-governmental standards developers to promote the development of voluntary consensus standards for environmentally preferable goods and services. 

Policy on Voluntary Consensus Standards

The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (P.L. 104-113: 1996) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119 direct Federal agencies to make use of voluntary consensus standards rather than government-unique standards whenever possible.

EPA and the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive issued a policy on the use of technical assistance from non-governmental entities for environmentally preferable purchasing, in April 1998.

EPA also published a Federal Registrar notice seeking comments on the Development of Voluntary Consensus Standards for Environmentally Preferable Goods and Services (PDF) (2 pp, 24 KB, About PDF) for environmentally preferable goods and services, in January 1999. EPA summarized the comments received on the Federal Register notice from independent standards developing organizations, purchasers, manufacturers/vendors and other interested parties.

Standards Organizations

EPA awarded a grant to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)Exit EPA Disclaimerin 2002 to increase awareness among standards developers of the role of standards in environmentally preferable purchasing. Under this grant, ANSI conducted outreach and created guidance materials to assist in the development of standards relevant to environmentally preferable purchasingExit EPA Disclaimer.

EPA has worked with a number of ANSI-accredited standards developers, such as:

EPA has also worked with a broad range of stakeholders involved in green design and green purchasing, to assist them in utilizing voluntary consensus standards.

Types of Standards

Standards relevant to environmentally preferable purchasing can be divided into two broad categories:

  1. Standards for data collection, testing, and analysis. These standards provide reliable environmental data in many areas, from specific environmental attributes to assessments of a broad range of environmental impacts through life cycle assessment studies.
  2. Standards that define "green" for particular products or services. These standards prescribe specific environmental criteria and/or product characteristics that must be met for a product to be classified as "green."

Using Standards

Users can take advantage of the data, analysis, and expert judgment built into these standards in order to streamline their design and purchasing decisions.

Standards can be used in a variety of applications, such as incorporation in design guidance, referencing in procurement policy or contract specifications, and in informing individual purchasing decisions for specific products.

Voluntary consensus standards on a wide variety of products and systems have been developed in recent years, including standards for electronic products, building materials and systems, carpet, and commercial cleaning products.

Finding Green Standards

The Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Database of Environmental Information for Products and Services contains standards and specifications developed by governmental and non-governmental organizations on a wide range of products and services. Some, but not all, of these standards were developed through voluntary consensus processes.

Standards specific to the design and operation of green buildings are incorporated in the Federal Green Construction Guide for SpecifiersExit EPA Disclaimer.

The Office of the Federal Environmental Executive published the Designated Green Products for Federal Procurement, which is a compilation of the products for which EPA, the Department of Energy, and Department of Agriculture have provided environmental or energy attribute recommendations.

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