Customers aren't the only ones who can reap potential benefits by adopting green practices that tie in with EPEAT requirements. For example, MDG has saved money by implementing an EPEAT-based Customer Packaging Take-Back Program, according to Fry. Through the program, the company will take back product packaging from customer sites, then reuse it. "MDG has actually been able to reduce (through reuse) both packaging costs and the cost of excess packaging cardboard and foam disposal. Savings like these are accumulative and will increase over time as program adoption becomes more prevalent," he says.
But the company's customers are also enjoying benefits from the program: "High-volume clients especially appreciate the take-back options as it keeps their shipping docks clear for more important deliveries," Fry says.
It's also noteworthy to consider the less tangible, greater-good benefits of the adopting more sustainable IT products. The GEC says that the adoption of so many EPEAT-registered wares last year will:
- Reduce use of primary materials by 75.5 million metric tons, equivalent to the weight of more than 585 million refrigerators
- Reduce use of toxic materials, including mercury, by 3,220 metric tons, equivalent to the weight of 1.6 million bricks
- Eliminate use of enough mercury to fill 482,381 household fever thermometers
- Avoid the disposal of 124,000 metric tons of hazardous waste, equivalent to the weight of 62 million bricks.
- Save 42.2 billion kWh of electricity -- enough to power 3.7 million U.S. homes for a year
- Eliminate 174 million metric tons of air emissions (including greenhouse gas emissions) and almost 365 thousand metric tons of water pollutant emissions
- Reduce 3.31 million metric tons of carbon equivalent greenhouse gas emissions -- equivalent to removing more than 2.6 million U.S. cars from the road for a year
It's heartening, to me, to learn that organizations are finding that green can, in fact, pay for itself. With time, as demand for energy efficient, environmentally friendly products continue to rise, costs will undoubtedly drop. Sooner or later, in fact, I'd wager those sorts of traits won't even be viewed as extras so much as expected features.