John L. (Larry) Chalfan
The efforts of Larry Chalfan, Viccy Salazar and Wayne Rifer in developing the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) have spurred the electronics industry to go “green.” EPEAT was launched in 2006 as the culmination of over 100 stakeholders representing diverse backgrounds working together to create a system for identifying computer equipment that is environmentally friendly. EPEAT is used by government agencies, universities, hospitals and corporations to ensure they are purchasing green electronics products.
The trio’s leadership and commitment was a key factor to their overcoming the immense challenge of guiding the group of electronics manufacturers and purchasers, environmental advocacy groups, researchers, recyclers, state and local governments and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to a consensus on the environmental criteria. This work resulted in the creation of IEEE Standard 1680, which became the technical basis for the EPEAT certification system. Mr. Rifer saw the need for a common system with which to measure a product’s environmental performance and that would provide incentive to companies to produce green technology and he enlisted the help of Mr. Chalfan.
Mr. Chalfan provided project management support and wrote the grant proposal to the EPA. Ms. Salazar was the EPA manager for the grant that funded EPEAT’s development. Together they facilitated the stakeholder dialogue that led to consensus. They guided all stakeholders, including EPA, to jointly decide the criteria, which was instrumental in developing a resource supported by all stakeholders. They also worked with large institutional purchasers, including federal and state governments, to ensure the standard’s relevance in the marketplace. EPEAT’s impact continues to grow as standards are being expanded to cover televisions and imaging products.
An IEEE Associate Member, Mr. Chalfan founded the Zero Waste Alliance, Portland, Ore., in 1999, from which he retired in 2009 as executive director. The following year, in 2010, he was awarded the IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies “For developing and bringing into operation EPEAT, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, that measures product’s environmental performance.”