HHS Policy for Electronic Stewardship

Table of Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Background
  3. Scope
  4. Policy
  5. Roles and Responsibilities
  6. Applicable Laws and Guidance
  7. Information and Assistance
  8. Effective Date/Implementation
  9. Approved

1. Purpose

The purpose of this Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Policy is to provide the framework for the implementation of sound environmental practices in the acquisition, operations and maintenance, and end-of-life management of HHS-purchased electronic products.

The establishment of practices that map to this policy are intended to:

  1. enhance and expand existing HHS sustainable practices in order to comply with Executive Order (E.O.) 13423 and 13514
  2. reduce energy consumption
  3. reduce toxic disposal related to electronics
  4. save money through reduced energy consumption and increased electronics life expectancy. In all aspects of its acquisitions and operations

HHS aspires to be a good steward of the earth’s resources and a wise manager of the taxpayers’ dollar.

This policy establishes:

  • use of cost-effective technologies to promote efficient power management of electronic products, including, but not limited to energy efficient or environmentally preferred options and features such as power saving modes for computers, monitors and printers and default duplex print settings whenever appropriate
  • increasing use of environmentally sound practices for disposition of all agency excess or surplus electronic products
  • implementation of best management practices to measure and improve energy efficient management of servers and Federal data centers

This Policy is a first issuance.

2. Background

This Policy incorporates the Electronic Stewardship Plan (May 2007) and Electronic Stewardship Implementation Plan. As such, this Policy should be referenced in other appropriate documents as opposed to the Electronic Stewardship Plan and the Electronic Stewardship Implementation Plan.

3. Scope

This policy applies to all HHS organizational components (i.e., Operating Divisions [OPDIVs] and Staffing Divisions [STAFFDIVs]) and organizations conducting business for and on behalf of the Department through contractual relationships when using HHS information technology (IT) resources. This policy does not supersede any other applicable law, higher level agency directive, or existing labor management agreement in effect as of the effective date of this policy.

Department officials shall apply this policy to employees, contractor personnel, interns, and other non-government employees. All organizations collecting or maintaining information, or using or operating information systems on behalf of the Department, are also subject to the stipulations of this policy. The content of and compliance with this policy shall be incorporated into applicable contract language, as appropriate.

Agencies shall use this policy or may create a more restrictive OPDIV/STAFFDIV policy, but not one that is less restrictive, less comprehensive, or less compliant with this document.

The Office of Information Technology Infrastructure and Operations (ITIO) is the program office responsible for implementation of this policy for the following OPDIVS/STAFFDIVS:

  • Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Administration on Aging (AoA)
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) (regions only)
  • Office of the Secretary (OS)
  • Program Support Center (PSC)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The following OPDIVS/STAFFDIVS are responsible for implementation of this policy for their respective organizations:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) (HQ only)
  • Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG)

4. Policy

4.1. Referenced Table and Appendix Authority

The HHS CIO and the HHS CIO Council, with the endorsement of the HHS Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Council, have full authority to set initial values and make future changes to the criteria contained in tables or appendices referenced within this Policy. The HHS CIO and the HHS CIO Council, with the endorsement of the HHS CTO Council, also have full authority to delete existing or to add new criteria in tables or appendices referenced within this policy. Appendix A contains definitions and examples of Ineligible equipment, Power Management features that can be enabled for Computers and Monitors, and HHS Best Practices for Energy Efficient Use of Electronic Products or Electronic Devices.

4.1.1. Ineligible Electronic Products

If it is determined that a certain class of or usage of equipment is deemed ineligible due to security, or other sensitive or mission critical reasons, a written justification shall be submitted to the OPDIV CIO, HHS OCIO or their designated delegates with an explanation as to why the equipment should be considered ineligible and, if applicable, what actions will be taken to correct the issues and when they will be completed.

Settings that interfere with the intended purpose and use of an individual electronic device may be disabled on a case-by-case basis as required to ensure proper functionality by support organizations, staff delegated with that authority by the OPDIV, or HHS OCIO.

4.1.2. Acquisition of Electronic Products

Ensure that the acquisitions of electronic products are Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registered, ENERGY STAR qualified, and/or Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) designated and meet the requirements as specified in the HHS Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP). See section 5.1.5 - Other Energy Efficient or Environmentally Preferred Options and Features of this policy for additional information on EPEAT.

OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs are required to maintain evidence that their electronic devices are EPEAT registered within their organizations.

4.1.3. Power Management

The Department of Health and Human Services adopts the power management settings as set forth in Appendix A and shall meet implementation dates as specified in the HHS Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP) in order to:

  1. save energy and associated financial and environmental costs
  2. meet the goals of Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance
  3. meet the goals of our partnership with the Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC)

OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs are required to maintain evidence that Power Management practices are being implemented within their organizations.

4.1.4. Duplex Printing

In order to 1) support HHS’s efforts to be a more sustainable and socially responsible organization, 2) save on paper costs, including shipping and storage costs, and 3) reduce the associated environmental impact of paper production and disposal of waste paper, HHS adopts duplex printing as the default standard for all network-connected and local printers.

OPDIVS and STAFFDIVS are required to maintain evidence that Duplex Printing is established as the default and best practices for maximizing the use of duplex printing are being followed within their organizations.

4.1.5. Other Energy Efficient or Environmentally Preferred Options and Features

The Office of the Federal Environmental Executive (OFEE) and the Environmental Protection Agency have developed a procurement tool, EPEAT, to help Federal agencies and the private sector evaluate, compare and select computers, notebooks, and monitors based on their environmental attributes. The EPEAT tool uses pre-selected criteria to establish a product rating. EPEAT uses three rating types: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

The benefit of using the EPEAT tool is that the criteria are maintained by EPEAT. EPEAT performs testing on all products and provides users with the ability to access the company’s website to obtain current data on products that meet Bronze criteria.

HHS shall refer to the EPA’s EPEAT website (www.epeat.net) for guidance on purchasing electronic equipment and will strive to purchase to (EPEAT) Silver-rated electronic products or higher if available.

As outlined in HHS goals for the Federal Challenge, HHS shall use the Bronze rating as the minimum to purchase future, eligible equipment and shall abide by HHS’s Green Purchasing Guidelines (http://intranet.hhs.gov/ssc/gp/). By using the EPA’s guidance, HHS expects to achieve the following results as mentioned in the E.O. 13514:

  • Greater energy efficiency
  • Increased re-use
  • Improved end-of-life recovery

OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs are required to maintain evidence of other energy efficient or environmentally preferred options and features that are implemented within their organizations.

4.1.6. Extending Useful Life of Electronic Equipment

OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs shall:

  • Establish a three or four year or greater replacement cycle for desktop computers and two or three year or greater replacement cycle for laptops
  • Implement the recommendations that have been documented on the EPA Energy Star website, and
  • Meet implementation dates as specified in the HHS Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP).

OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs are required to maintain evidence that they have met these requirements to extend the useful life of electronic equipment within their organizations.

4.1.7. Environmentally Sound Practices for Disposition

E.O. 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, requires agencies to employ environmentally sound practices with respect to the agency’s disposition of all agency excess or surplus electronic products. OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs shall manage devices through reuse, donation or recycle, meet implementation dates as specified in the HHS Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP), and follow disposition practices in accordance with policies and procedures outlined in the HHS Logistics Management Manual.

HHS and its OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs shall also comply with relevant federal, state and local laws related to electronics reuse, recycling, and disposal.

OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs are required to maintain evidence that environmentally sound disposition practices are being followed within their organizations.

See Appendix B for more information concerning approved disposition practices.

4.2. Federal Electronic Challenge

Each OPDIV/STAFFDIV shall enroll and participate in the Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC) which will be the primary reporting mechanism for the Department.

OPDIVs shall provide annual updated FEC reports directly to the FEC with copies to the HHS Chief Information Officer (CIO), the HHS Agency Environmental Executive (AEE) and the HHS Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) – additional information on the FEC which will be the primary data gathering and reporting instrument for the Department.

This requirement is to be implemented beginning January 1, 2011 and completed by December 31, 2011 and annually thereafter.

4.3. References and Resources

4.4. Training and Education

Per the HHS 2010 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, OPDIVs shall provide Electronic Stewardship and Data Center Consolidation training to all appropriate personnel.

4.5. Data Centers

All data centers will implement best management practices for energy efficient management of servers and Federal data centers in accordance with HHS-OCIO Policy for Data Center Management which went into effect March 22, 2011.

5. Roles and Responsibilities

5.1. HHS Chief Information Officer (CIO)

The HHS Chief Information Officer is responsible for leading the HHS information technology function to maintain accurate, reliable, business processes and updated data/information for Department-wide use.

The HHS CIO, together with the HHS CIO Council, is given the authority within this policy to initialize values, delete, add and make future changes to tables or appendices referenced within this Policy.

5.2. HHS CIO Council

The HHS CIO Council, together with the HHS CIO, is given the authority within this policy to initialize values, delete, add and make future changes to tables or appendices referenced within this Policy.

5.3. HHS CTO Council

The HHS CTO Council has the responsibility to evaluate and, when appropriate, endorse for consideration by the HHS CIO and the HHS CIO Council, recommendations to initialize values, delete, add and make future changes to tables or appendices referenced within this Policy.

5.4. OPDIV Chief Information Officers (CIOs)

Consistent with Departmental and OPDIV policies and procedures, the OPDIV CIO is responsible for ensuring the planning, budgeting, managing, and performance monitoring for the OPDIV’s IT investments. The OPDIV CIO chairs the OPDIV CIO Council, or equivalent, which oversees the work of the OPDIV’s representative on the HHS ES Workgroup. The OPDIV CIO oversees the implementation of the OPDIV Electronic Stewardship Plan and delegates responsibility for the OPDIV’s electronic stewardship mandates to the OPDIV electronic stewardship lead, or equivalent, and reports OPDIV-related electronic stewardship issues to the HHS CIO Council.

The OPDIV CIOs ensure implementation of HHS electronic stewardship policies and procedures at the OPDIV level. The OPDIV CIO ensures that OPDIV electronic stewardship targets align with the Department targets and related technology policies and priorities. The OPDIV CIO establishes OPDIV-specific electronic stewardship management policies, guidelines, procedures, and standards in conformity with the HHS electronic stewardship management policies. The OPDIV CIO ensures availability and management of resources and training opportunities sufficient to fulfill electronic stewardship management responsibilities of the OPDIV and its sub-organizations.

The OPDIV CIO is responsible for:

  • In collaboration with the OPDIV’s established Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), designating the OPDIV representative to the HHS ES Workgroup
  • Ensuring adoption, development, and implementation of Department and OPDIV electronic stewardship management policies and procedures
  • Facilitating identification of and participation by OPDIV program and business representatives in electronic stewardship-related activities at the OPDIV and Department level
  • Ensuring establishment of a electronic stewardship management review and exceptions management process that meets HHS electronic stewardship management standards
  • Ensuring that the electronic stewardship managers comply with the OPDIV’s and Department target electronic stewardship goals
  • Ensuring that the OPDIV electronic stewardship metrics are reported in a timely manner to the HHS ES Program Lead
  • Collaborating with the OPDIV acquisitions managers to ensure that OPDIV contractors impacted by the electronic stewardship plan or that impact the OPDIV’s electronic stewardship plan are informed of their obligations and responsibilities for compliance with the plan.
  • Performing reviews of and approving goals and actions listed in initial and annual Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP) as it relates to electronic stewardship.
  • Making decisions based on reviews of electronic stewardship policies and cost benefit analyses, to implement recommended ES practices by the respective OPDIV.

5.5. OPDIV Chief Sustainability Officer

This is a Director-level designee who will serve as the organizational leader on overall issues regarding sustainability. The executive order covers a wide array of programs, few of which fall under a single office or organization. As a result, it is important for a senior leader with broad oversight serve in this role. He or she must actively coordinate with appropriate offices and sub-organizations including the General Counsel, Chief Information Officer, Chief Acquisition Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Real Property Officers to incorporate SSPP initiatives within agency plans, policies and activities. Although the Senior Coordinator does not necessarily play a technical role in these programs, he or she ensures the program managers work together to meet the EO requirements. This individual serves as the central contact for sustainability and is responsible for the overall OPDIV sustainability performance. The CSO must be empowered with the staff and resources to provide effective oversight.

5.6. OPDIV Electronic Stewardship (ES) Manager

The OPDIV, OIG, and ITIO (only) Electronic Stewardship Manager is selected by the OPDIV CIO, in collaboration with the OPDIV’s CSO, to represent the OPDIV on the HHS ES Workgroup. The OPDIV Electronic Stewardship Manager is responsible for attending Workgroup meetings, serving on ad hoc ES subgroups or assigning the responsibility to a OPDIV staff member, reporting OPDIV ES metrics and progress on the implementation of electronic stewardship to the Sustainability Task Force and the HHS ES Program Lead, and coordinating the transfer of relevant ES information between the Workgroup and the OPDIV staff. In addition, the individual encourages the organization to purchase greener electronic products, reduce impacts of electronic products during use, and manage obsolete electronics in an environmentally safe way. As required, the OPDIV ES Manager coordinates activities with the OPDIV’s environmental manager and supports the HHS ES Program Lead in implementing electronic stewardship.

5.7. Program Office Manager

The Program Office Manager is the executive within the HHS Program Office, OPDIV, or ITIO, who has the primary responsibility for funding electronic stewardship for their respective areas.

5.8. HHS Electronic Stewardship (ES) Program Lead

The HHS Electronic Stewardship Program Lead is the individual responsible for:

  • coordinating the HHS ES activities
  • leading HHS ES Workgroup meetings
  • establishing focus topics for subgroup teams in the HHS ES Workgroup
  • collecting and reporting ES metrics from each OPDIV
  • reporting progress on the electronic stewardship sub-goals to the HHS CTO and CIO Councils, and to Sustainability Task Force
  • leading the development of HHS policy required to successfully implement electronic stewardship.

6. Applicable Laws and Guidance

  • Executive Order (E.O.) 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, was signed on January 24, 2007, to strengthen key goals for the Federal Government. It set more challenging goals than the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EP Act 2005) and superseded E.O. 13123 and E.O. 13149.
  • Executive Order (E.O.) 13514; Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance; was signed on October 5, 2009. It expanded upon the energy reduction and environmental performance requirements of E.O. 13423.

7. Information and Assistance

Direct questions, comments, suggestions, or requests for further information to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Technology, who serves as the HHS CIO, at (202) 690-6162.

8. Effective Date/Implementation

The effective date of this policy is the date the policy is approved.

These policies and procedures will not be implemented in any recognized bargaining unit until the union has been provided notice of the proposed changes and given an opportunity to fully exercise its representational rights.

The HHS policies contained in this issuance shall be exercised in accordance with Public Law 93-638, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, as amended, and the Secretary's policy statement dated August 7, 1997, as amended, titled “Department Policy on Consultation with American Indian/Alaska Native Tribes and Indian Organizations.” It is HHS policy to consult with Indian people to the greatest practicable extent and to the extent permitted by law before taking actions that affect these governments and people; to assess the impact of the Department's plans, projects, programs and activities on tribal and other available resources; and to remove any procedural impediments to working directly with tribal governments or Indian people.

9. Approved

Michael W. Carleton, HHS Chief Information Officer


Content created by Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
Content last reviewed