ANSI - American National Standards Institute
 Print this article  Previous Next 

New Energy Star Standard for Computer Efficiency Shines Bright on the Environment


New York, Feb 09, 2007

In October 2006 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new standards for computers to qualify for the Energy Star rating. The long overdue update, replacing specifications from 1992, goes into effect on July 20, 2007. The specification includes new performance requirements for desktop and notebook computers, workstations, integrated computers, desktop-derived servers and game consoles. The update has the potential to save consumers billions of dollars in energy costs and prevent billions of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient electronic equipment familiar to almost anyone who has purchased electronic consumer products in the U.S. in the past decade. It was created by the EPA in 1992 and has since been adopted by several countries around the world. Energy Star compliance reduces the amount of energy consumed by a product by either automatically switching it into a 'sleep' mode when it's not being used and/or reducing the amount of power used when in 'standby' mode. (To ensure the Energy Star feature on your computer is enabled follow these step-by-step instructions.)

The previous requirements only specified what energy consumption should be while in sleep mode resulting in computers carrying the Energy Star label gratuitously. The updated specification introduces power consumption targets while the computer is actually powered on and running. The ‘active’ mode portions of the specification are completely new and considerably more challenging than any of the current specifications. Under the new specification, only the most energy-efficient computer related equipment will earn the Energy Star label, representing the top of their class.

According to an October 2006 EPA press release, Energy Star qualifying computer equipment will be, on average, 65 percent more efficient than conventional models due to requirements for improved efficiency across all modes of a computer's operation, and inclusion of highly efficient internal and external power supplies. These new specifications are expected to save U.S. households and businesses more than $1.8 billion in energy costs over the next five years and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual emissions of 2.7 million cars.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel