Microsoft has joined the growing number of companies that are changing their PC procurement habits to include energy efficiency and environmental considerations. The software giant now requires all new PCs to conform not just with Energy Star 5.0, but with the guidelines set out by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (aka EPEAT). Who knows, maybe one day we won't have to talk about two standards, but for now, this is a pretty big step forward. Energy Star clearly focuses on energy usage, while EPEAT also takes into account reduction of materials including cadmium, lead and mercury, as well as how easy it is (relatively) to upgrade or recycle a given system.
Here's an internal blog that outlines Microsoft's new client hardware purchasing requirements.