measuring sustainability

measuring sustainability


EPEAT certification

   Time Estimate: 2—4 hours

   Goal: Use EPEAT certification criteria to consider your green design priorities.

Rate your invention according to EPEAT certification criteria, estimating data as needed and accounting for variation in your estimates. 


Step 1: Read the certification criteria

   Time Estimate: 15—30 minutes


Step 2: Make a spreadsheet to calculate the EPEAT score of your product.

   Time Estimate: 1.5—4 hours

Perform an estimated rating of your product. You can use this template spreadsheet, or make your own.

In order to be most effective, your spreadsheet should:

  • Be based on as much real data as possible.
  • Visually flag your uncertainties with red text or highlighting. There will be data unavailable to you, or not yet decided, such as whether ingredients contain hazardous materials or outcomes of social assessments.  For points with these uncertainties, show optimistic and pessimistic scores in different columns.  Then you can calculate the final score for best and worst likely totals.
  • List brief notes for each line item to remember why you scored it the way you did. You only need a few words, not a whole paragraph.
  • Be graphically designed to be clear and easy to interpret by someone other than you. This can be a powerful communication tool between you and your team (or your investors, or your future self). If you keep coming back to it, it can be a dashboard for tracking improvement.


Step 3: Interpret your results.

   Time Estimate: 5—10 minutes
  • Would you qualify for EPEAT certification in your best-case scenario? What about worst-case scenario?
  • What points would prevent you from qualifying? Where are you scoring well? What would be easy for you to change?

Use these conclusions to set your priorities for green design and operations.



Checklist for Self-Assessment

To score your success on this exercise, see if you…

  1. Listed yes/no scores for all points of the certification.
  2. Visually flagged uncertainties and showed optimistic and pessimistic scores in different columns.
  3. Calculated final score for best-case and worst-case likely totals.
  4. Listed what level (if any) EPEAT certification you would qualify for in your best-case and worst-case scenarios.
  5. Listed brief notes for each line item.
  6. Made the document visually clear and easy to interpret by someone other than you.
  7. Described how your score(s) affect your design priorities: what prevents you from certifying, where are you scoring well, what would be easy to change, etc.


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