California May Boost Energy Efficiency Standards for Computers

laptopThe California Energy Commission has drafted proposed energy efficiency standards for computers and monitors. If enacted, these standards will likely affect all computers and monitors manufactured in the US because California is heavily involved in computer manufacturing and has a large population of computer consumers.

Standards for notebooks, small-scale servers, and workstation computers would take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Standards for desktop computers and thin-clients would take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Some highlights of the draft report include:

  • A machine’s power management, when it is not in use, will be improved.
  • Standards are estimated to save 2,702 GWh a year, potentially reducing the utility bills of consumers by $430 million annually.
  • The estimated increase in cost for notebooks, where 73 percent of today’s models already comply with the proposal, is $1 with consumers saving more than $2 in energy costs over four years.
  • Desktop computers, which lag behind notebooks in energy efficiency innovation, offer the largest energy savings opportunity at about $69 in savings over a five-year life for a $2 efficiency upgrade.
  • The cost of a computer monitor will increase about $10 but will save consumers more than $26 over a six-year life. This standard would affect monitors manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2017.

In addition to power-saving features, the proposed standards would align test procedures and regulatory framework with existing international and federal Energy Star specifications.

The Energy Commission developed the draft staff report and standards after receiving stakeholder input beginning in September 2012. A workshop is scheduled for April 15, where public comments and further stakeholder input will be heard.

Photo: Laptop via Shutterstock


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