EPA Releases Revision Draft of Computer Efficiency Spec

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 10:20 -- MrGreen

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled its strategy for revising Version 6.1 of the ENERGY STAR® computer specification. The specification details minimum efficiency requirements for desktop, notebook, and portable all-in-one computers, tablets, workstations, and thin clients.

The agency plans a two-pronged revision approach, starting work on Version 7.0 now, with Version 8 development beginning in 2018. Version 7 focuses on requirements for notebook computers, tablets, thin clients, internal power supplies, and full network connectivity. Version 8.0 will target desktop computer efficiency improvements.

Key proposed changes in Version 7 include:

  • Tighter energy consumption limits - The EPA is proposing a reduction in the base energy consumption allowed for all notebook categories while harmonizing with most of the functional adder allowances found in California’s Title 20 computer efficiency standard. Tablets and portable all-in-one computers will be consolidated into one product group and will also utilize the notebook adders. The base energy and functional adder allowances are used in calculating a unit’s maximum typical energy consumption (TEC).
  • Internal power supply (IPS) criteria - The agency wants to increase minimum IPS efficiency from 80Plus Bronze to 80Plus Gold efficiency levels.
  • Scope amendment - Small scale servers will be removed from the specification scope due to limited sales and no certified products.
  • Full Network Connectivity - The definition for full network connectivity has been amended to align with new, very low power modes being developed in the industry. These new modes allow a constant network connection while consuming less than 2 watts.

The EPA welcomes comments on the proposed draft. Comments should be submitted by August 3rd to computers@energystar.gov. A copy of the current Version 6.1 program specification can be found here. Copies of the Version 7 announcement cover letter, draft specification, and recent stakeholder webinar presentation can be found on the ENERGY STAR computer specification development webpage.

The EPA hopes to finalize and publish Version 7 by the end of this year, with an effective date in the third quarter of 2018. Version 8 development will begin soon after that, with a targeted completion before Tier 2 of the California Energy Commission’s computer efficiency standard takes effect in 2021.