Power Electronics

EPA Announces Computer Efficiency Requirements

With an eye to saving U.S. households and businesses more than $1.8 billion in energy costs over the next 5 years, the EPA has announced Energy Star specifications for computers and related equipment. These modifications are also expected to prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual emissions of 2.7 million cars.

Under the specifications, only the most energy-efficient computer related equipment will earn the Energy Star label, representing the top of their class. The requirements include improved efficiency across all modes of a computer's operation, and require use of highly efficient internal and external power supplies. The specifications go into effect on July 20, 2007.

If every computer purchased by businesses meets these Energy Star requirements, businesses will save $1.2 billion over the lifetime of their computers, equal to lighting 730 million square feet of U.S. commercial building space each year.

Government agencies buying Energy Star will also garner big savings. If the government sector buys only computers that meet the Energy Star requirements, this sector will save nearly 1.4 billion kWhrs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 billion pounds each year. On average, Energy Star qualifying computer equipment will be 65% more efficient than conventional models.

Computers were the first product to qualify for EPA's Energy Star in 1992. The EPA and computer makers have worked together on improving computer energy efficiency ever since. The United States now has more 180 million computers in use; they consume nearly 58 billion kWhr per year, or about 2% of annual U.S. electricity consumption.

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