ENERGY STAR Qualification
ENERGY STAR, a joint program between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, offers voluntary qualification for products that are energy efficient. The ENERGY STAR program sets high standards designed to save energy, save money and help protect the environment for future generations. Panasonic is one of nearly 20,000 organizations that have become ENERGY STAR partners, all working to promote, sell, or improve products, homes, and buildings that use less energy and qualify for the ENERGY STAR. Panasonic's commitment to ENERGY STAR initiatives and other environmental programs have resulted in all Toughbook® computers earning the ENERGY STAR.
ENERGY STAR for computers raises the efficiency bar dramatically. ENERGY STAR establishes efficiency requirements for all modes of a computer's operation, which ensures energy savings when a computer is active and running basic applications, as well as in low power modes. Qualifying computers must also include an internal power supply that is at least 80 percent efficient. Only the most energy-efficient products, including all Toughbook computers have qualified for the new specification. If all computers sold in the US meet ENERGY STAR requirements, the savings in energy costs will grow to more than $1.5 billion each year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 2 million vehicles.
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EPEAT is an easy-to-use, online tool to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, laptops and monitors based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT also provides a clear and consistent set of performance criteria for the design of products, and provides an opportunity for manufacturers to secure market recognition for their efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products.
EPEAT evaluates electronic products according to three tiers of environmental performance — Bronze, Silver and Gold. There are 51 total environmental criteria: 23 required criteria and 28 optional criteria. A Bronze-rated product meets all 23 required criteria. A Silver-rated product meets all 23 required criteria plus at least 50% of the optional criteria. A Gold-rated product meets all 23 required criteria and at least 75% of the optional criteria. All Toughbook computer models are either gold- or silver-rated, ensuring the highest level of environmental performance.
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Since 1996, all Panasonic manufacturing plants worldwide—including the factory in Kobe, Japan where Toughbook® mobile computers are made—have achieved ISO 14001 registration and implemented the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. The Kobe factory has also been certified for ISO 9001, an international standard for quality management systems that enhance product quality assurance and customer satisfaction.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international federation promoting the development of international manufacturing, trade, and communication standards. ISO 14000, a series of standards, provides the framework for managing the environmental impacts of an organization.
The ISO 14001 international standard established a systematic approach that organizations can use to minimize or prevent environmental impacts and risks. This approach, known as an Environmental Management System or EMS, requires the organization to establish an environmental control policy, educate employees about procedures and continually monitor environmental performance.
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For manufacturers of electronic equipment, the main impact of RoHS is that only lead-free products can be sold in Europe. Panasonic has therefore shifted to lead-free solder. By selling RoHS-compliant Toughbook computers in all countries, not just Europe, Panasonic helps eliminate hazardous electronic waste materials from landfills and waste dumps around the world.
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Section 508 Standards
Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. Electronic and information technology procured by Federal agencies must meet Section 508's requirements for accessibility.
Toughbook® mobile computers have long been designed and manufactured with access-friendly features, such as touchscreens and the ability to be mounted on wheelchairs. In addition, Panasonic works closely with Microsoft to ensure that Toughbook computers can take full advantage of the accessibility features built into Windows®. Panasonic continually endeavors to make all its products more accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. In fact, Panasonic worked with ITIC (Information Technology Industry Council) in developing the Section 508 "Buy Accessible" template, and also actively participates in the GSA (General Services Administration) sponsored Accessibility Forum.
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