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 STARís 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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