ENERGY STAR Certification Updated for Computers

Fri, Jul 27, 2007

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Update 7/31/07: Nine Apple computers are now Energy Star certified. 143 computers are now Energy Star certified total.

On July 20th, ENERGY STAR’s new specifications for computers went into effect. Today I listened in on a Department of Energy conference call which discussed the new specifications, which are expected to save consumers and businesses more than $1.8 billion in energy costs over the next 5 years and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual emissions of 2.7 million vehicles.

The new specifications include:

  • Use of energy efficient power supply. Desktops must use power supplies that are 80% efficient
  • Operate efficiently in Standby/Off, Sleep, and Idle modes. Desktops must use less than 2 W in standby mode
  • Include and enable power management features of the system and provide user education about these feature

Only about 125 117 desktops (note: the number 125 was communicated on the call and is not representative of the list linked below) and laptops currently meet the new stringent requirements. The list of computers is available as an Excel spreadsheet (which also provides how the computer is Energy Star certified). Of note, Apple currently does not have one computer that meets the new requirements on that list. Dell only has three. Lenovo and Gateway currently offer the most models meeting the newest criteria. Manufacturers have known of these changes for months so it is surprising that Apple has no computers available that meet the new specifications certified as Energy Star per the website.

These new ENERGY STAR specifications should help home theater computers as well. Of all the computers used in the home, HTPCs are most likely to be left on all the time, especially if they are used as a Tivo replacement.

Update: Manufacturers have until January to have their products certified as Energy Star. Most federal agencies have requirements to purchase EPEAT computers, of which Energy Star is a requirement. By January, federal agencies have to purchase computers that are Energy Star certified under the new specifications. Apple should be able to meet these specifications in time. Energy Star is developed in conjunction with the manufacturers.

Second Update: Apparently, Apple has a couple of models, like the Mac Mini, that are Energy Star 4.0 compliant, but are not currently certified as such.

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    33 Comments For This Post

    1. cak Says:

      Yeah, I mean manufacturers have known of these changes for months?? So why don’t they just completely redesign all their machines to fit these new standards, and then all they need to do is get the plans out to the manufacturers to retool their machines. It shouldn’t take more than a few hours at the most to get all that down. WHY are the deliberatly dragging their feet on this!!

      This is great an all, but lets be realistic, it can take a while to create new machines based on these standards, saying anything else is just idioitic.

    2. Jeremy Says:

      Yes indeed. This is a ridiculous article with loaded language and lots of missing information (a bad combination to be sure).

      A better tack to take might have been a historical review, so we know who the players are and to what extent they have fitted themselves into this certification in the past. The follow that up with some reasonable detail on exactly what these new changes are.

      The three points listed above are innocuous enough, but one would assume that most computers already meet them. The key point here is exactly what part of the spec companies are *not* meeting. Is it the 80% efficiency? Or is it merely that vaguely worded stuff about “educating” the consumer?

      Following it up with a word about what the companies need to do to pass the certification and what the response has been from them would be a lot more illuminating than simply saying that most companies are not meeting your standard.

    3. Jawa Says:

      Either way Macs are still disgustingly overrated. *Look at me with my one mouse button*

    4. MyKillK Says:

      Jawa: You’re stupid.

      The mouse on all new Macs have 4 buttons. I think your intelligence is over-rated.

      Jeremy: That was my thought exactly — what is the specific reason that most of these computers do not meet the new standard?

    5. Maarten Says:

      Interestting article. He’s right is saying that Apple’s current products don’t meet the new specs, but a 20-inch iMac for instance, uses only 3.4W in standby. AND THAT INCLUDES THE MONITOR! All the other desktops are measured without the monitor. If you add the monitor, then NONE of the other desktops would meet the new specs either, and you would note that the Apple desktops are in actual fact the most environmentally friendly.

      Apple is one of the founding members of the Energy Star Alliance.

      Want some real facts on Apple desktops energy consumption? Read this: http://www.apple.com/environment/resources/specs.html

    6. Kevin Says:

      Just to clarify some things…..the article is not really meant to be anti-Apple. I just thought it was interesting they were the only manufacturer that has no computer meeting the new standards. Basically, Apple has until January to meet the standards our the U.S. government will not be able to buy any Apple computers. This is not to say that Apple computers are not energy efficient.

    7. PD Says:

      “Lenovo,” not “Lenova.”

    8. raoultg Says:

      @ PD: I fixed the typo. Thank you.

    9. Mike Says:

      Like Jeremy was saying, more info could be useful to know in what ways Apple and these other companies are not meeting the standards. Its possible that Apple could be in a catch right now because like Maarten said, they include a monitor along with the rest of the computer. But it could be as simple as “providing user education about these features”. And cak, do you really expect all these companies, Apple included, to drop working on their current projects to make more efficient hardware (which I am sure they are already doing). All these computers have been gradually getting more energy efficient; who’s to say that the next model of the computers won’t fit these requirements?

    10. editwizard Says:

      I think its funny that they point out the power in ‘standby’ mode… All 3 of my macs are the very first computers I’ve owned in 12 years that actually go into and out of standby properly and reliably! Every Windows Pc that I’ve had either fails to go into standby or crashes as it tries to awaken. Gotta be a lot of wasted watts there over the years- energy star or not.

      I’m not even gonna get into how much more efficient OS X is to use which in and of itself saves energy if you can get things done faster.

    11. Gesha Says:

      to Maarten:
      Actually… if you have a decent monitor it shouldn’t draw much power on standby. I checked mine and it’s less than 1 Watt/Hour, and its a big CRT. Figure lcd screens should be even less..

      Overall, I don’t see why any of these things take so long to do. Its been obvious for years that computers and all other machines draw a huge amount of power on standby and it costs business’s and consumers billions a year, and the environmental impact it makes is horrible. Good initiative but could have been done sooner, and more should be done as well..

    12. Destro Says:

      Either that list is incomplete/hasn’t been updated, or Apple is making things up…

      According to Apple, everyone of their notebooks, the mac mini, and the 8-core mac pro are compliant with the new spec *today*. That leaves the iMac line and the quad core mac pros.

      http://www.apple.com/environment/resources/specs.html

    13. Stuart Says:

      I find it funny how Al Gore who is ment to be fighting climate change is on the Apple board of directors and the company doesn’t have a single computer that meets the new standard.

    14. Truther Says:

      Do some fact checking. http://www.apple.com/environment/resources/specs.html Most of Apples products already meet Energy Star 4.0 requirements.

    15. Macademia Nut Says:

      Where does the list say that they considered Apple and they did not qualify?
      They probably considered only PCs. They did not consider the Macs at all.

      Clearly Apple’s page states that it meets the new requirements.

    16. Dell Password Says:

      This article needs to be updated as most of Apple’s products meet the guidelines already.

    17. Douglas Jarquin Says:

      I guess this gives me another reason to hold off on my next Apple purchase.

    18. FredFredrickson Says:

      If this is meant to be journalism, it is a very poor article. Firstly, there are 117 products listed, not 125. Secondly, there is no attempt to discover how products make it onto the list – did the EPA do exhaustive testing? Did they actually survey all available products on the market? Or are they dependent on manufacturers reporting compliant products?

      It is interesting that at least two Apple computers are compliant with the guidelines, clearly floppyhead didn’t bother to even check, deciding that if Apple products weren’t on the list, therefore none are compliant. Truly dreadful research, really.

    19. Dave-O Says:

      It would seem that the list was updated since you posted because I see several Apple products on Energy Star’s list (MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, and Mac mini). Looking at the Statistics, the file was created last October and updated today.

      Time for a 3rd update.

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