EPA Launches Computer Program Revision Process

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 11:11 -- MrGreen

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking stakeholder input on possible changes to its current ENERGY STAR® computer program specification. Working together with the European Commission, the EPA wants to make sure that efficiency gains achieved since the release of the current version 6 are recognized in the development of version 7. Currently, 95% of laptop computers and almost 40% of desktop computers comply with version 6 efficiency requirements.

Topics of discussion for the new version include:

  • Tightening of efficiency requirements for all product types, including possible changes to the methodology used in setting limits. The EPA is evaluating their current use of a "p-score" categorization compared to the California Energy Commission's (CEC) "expandability score" to characterize computer performance and capabilities.1
  • Revising base allowances and functional adders used in the calculation of a computer's maximum allowable annual energy consumption
  • Setting more vigorous power management and low power mode requirements
  • Higher internal power supply efficiency requirements
  • Considering scope changes to add ultrathin clients (after a test method is developed), considering the classification of interactive displays, and excluding small scale servers
  • Duty cycle and mode weightings for full network connectivity

The EPA hopes to have a first draft of a proposed spec by the end of the first quarter, with a final version 7 specification by the end of September. This would support an effective date sometime during the 2nd quarter of 2018.

The EPA is hosting a launch development webinar to discuss the possible specification changes on February 13th. To register for the webinar, click here. For a copy of the version 7 launch letter, click here. For a copy of the Discussion Document, click here.

1. The "p-score" is a category system developed by the Information Technology Industry intended to separate computer products by processor and graphics performance. The "expandability score" used in the CEC's computer standard, is a category system that separates desktop computers by potential expansions possible through available ports and interfaces, accommodating proper power supply sizing.