For those in need of a reminder concerning new energy efficiency regulations that go into effect for computers manufactured on or after January 1, 2018, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has recently reviewed this topic through a webinar on October 18.
Conducted by the CEC’s Efficiency Division staff, the webinar covered the definitions, test methods, performance requirements, reporting requirements, and certification process for high-expandability computers, mobile and rack-mounted workstations, and small-scale servers.
The webinar presentation can be found here.
In addition to defining "high-expandability computers," "mobile workstations," "workstations," "rack-mounted workstations," and "small-scale servers," key concepts were covered, such as how the "expandability score," system memory bandwidth, and minimum memory size requirement are calculated and what constitutes a "basic model". Furthermore, a detailed definition was provided for "Small Volume Manufacturers (SVM)," generally those with annual gross revenue of $2 million or less, as some computers manufactured by SVMs are exempted from complying with the proposed standards, with the exception of power management.
Regarding test methods, the test method for computers follows the "ENERGY STAR Program Requirements for Computers, Final Test Method (Rev. March-2016)," with a modification for settings related to hard-disk spinning. The total annual energy consumption (TEC) calculation uses Equation 1 in Section 3 of the "ENERGY STAR Program Requirements for Computers, Eligibility Criteria Version 6.1 (Rev. March-2016)". Types of mode weightings, such as "conventional," "full capability," or "remote wake," depend on the date of manufacture and other specified criteria. Workstations calculate TEC using prescribed mode weightings listed in Table 8. High-expandability computers are configured for testing in the same way as desktop computers, while mobile workstations similarly follow notebook computers. In addition, the sleep-mode power measurement has been modified from the test procedure used in IEC 62623:2012. Instead of measuring power after manually entering sleep mode, the measurement must start between 30 to 31 minutes of user inactivity on the unit and be performed after the long-idle test without altering the unit. Finally, power factor and internal power supply requirements are determined by the "Generalized Test Protocol for Calculating the Energy Efficiency of Internal Ac-Dc and Dc-Dc Power Supplies Revision 6.7 (March 1, 2014)" (docket number: 16-AAER-02), and the median power factor during short-idle shall be recorded in the test report.
Performance requirements are covered in Title 20, Section 1605.3(v). Computers within the scope must use either an 80 PLUS® Gold internal power supply or a Level VI external power supply, have energy-efficient Ethernet, and utilize power management. Power management requires displays to transition into sleep mode after 15 minutes or less of user inactivity and computers to transition into sleep mode after 30 minutes or less of user inactivity.
Reporting requirements, per Title 20, Section 1606, dictate that products manufactured on or after the effective date must certify compliance to the CEC for lawful sale in California, including internet sales. SVMs must also certify and retain records to demonstrate their eligibility requirements, for example for gross revenues and same location for assembly and sales.
The CEC staff also provided an overview of the certification process including a demonstration for navigating to MAEDBS, the Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System, where the Commission archives compliant models. General instructions on how to submit appliance data can be found here. On-demand videos are also available here.