Power Electronics

EPA Seeks Feedback on Energy Star Power Supply Specification

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting power supply manufacturers and other interested parties for input on Draft 4 of the ENERGY STAR specification for single-voltage external ac-dc and ac-ac power supplies. The specification outlines the criteria that manufacturers’ models will need to meet to qualify for ENERGY STAR.

Manufacturers and other interested parties are encouraged to review this final draft specification and provide comments by Nov. 19, 2004. Several stakeholders provided comments for EPA’s consideration in developing the Draft 4 specification. When acceptable to the author, written comments submitted to EPA on the first three drafts of the specification have been posted on the ENERGY STAR Web site at www.energystar.gov/powersupplies. Of note, the Active and No-Load performance requirements for Tiers 1 and 2 have not been modified in this Draft 4 specification.

Consistent with ENERGY STAR’s principles, the Tier 1 levels represent the top 23% of models in EPA’s data set. A few key changes have been incorporated into the latest draft and are highlighted briefly below:

  • Language has been added in Section 1, Definitions, that temporarily excludes a subset of external power supplies with battery charging functionality typically found in household appliances. The exclusion will be in place from Jan. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2005. This change will allow EPA to further investigate these battery-charging systems (as they are referred to in EPA documents for brevity and consistency) and, as necessary, develop a test method and specification that will best capture their energy saving opportunities.
  • Section 4.A, Safety Standards, has been revised to generally convey ENERGY STAR’s guiding principle that product quality and safety should never be compromised for energy efficiency, rather than provide numerous specific safety standards. This change was made due to the volume of safety standards and the frequent need for updates.
  • The Tier 1 effective date has been delayed by two months to Jan. 1, 2005. Manufacturers who join ENERGY STAR and test their products according to program guidelines may begin to promote their ENERGY STAR qualified models as of the effective date.
  • Finally, a new Section 7, International Efficiency Marking Protocol, has been added. This marking protocol, which has initial support from Australia, China and the United States, will provide a universal system for power-supply manufacturers to designate the minimum efficiency performance of an external power supply, so that finished product manufacturers and government representatives can easily determine a unit’s efficiency. Additional details are provided in Draft 4.

Stakeholder feedback on the protocol and implementation timeframe is requested, as this new requirement will not take effect immediately (Jan. 1, 2006, has been proposed). The complete rationale behind EPA’s decision to incorporate these changes can be found within the note boxes provided in the Draft 4 specification.

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