For Immediate Release: December 14, 2016
Media Contact: Amber Pasricha Beck - 916-654-4989
SACRAMENTO - After a multi-year process, the California Energy Commission today adopted energy efficiency standards for computers and monitors with support from industry, environmentalists, consumer groups and utilities. These are the first mandatory standards in the nation that could save consumers an estimated $373 million annually.
"It's common sense that electronic equipment ought to consume a minimal amount of energy when it is not being used," said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who is the Energy Commission's lead on energy efficiency. "Improved efficiency unlocks millions in utility bill savings for consumers and lightens the load on our electricity system. California's standards for computers and monitors are estimated to save enough energy to power about 350,000 average California homes for one year. The state, environmentalists, industry and consumer advocates were able to come together to find common ground and create a win-win policy."
In California, computers and computer monitors use an estimated 5,610 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year, which is up to 3 percent of residential electricity use and 7 percent of commercial use. The standards for computers focus on achieving significant efficiency improvements when computers are on, but not being used, wasting energy and money. The estimated energy savings from the computer and monitor standards is equivalent to the electricity use of all homes in San Francisco and San Luis Obispo counties in 2015, equivalent to nearly 350,000 homes.
The computer standards set a baseline energy use target and rely on a calculation to place a computer into categories, based on the additional technology added to the unit. The targets center on the performance in idle, sleep and off modes and do not set a limit for active mode. This will encourage more efficient power management of computers when they are not being used.
The Energy Commission estimates the standards for desktop computers will add about $10 to the cost of a computer when they first take effect but save consumers more than $40 in electricity bills over five years. These standards become more stringent over time to drive improvements in desktops over multiple design cycles. For desktop computers, the first-tier standards would take effect January 1, 2019, while the second-tier would take effect July 1, 2021.
The majority of notebook computers are already energy efficient and the standards will require improvements to the worst performers. For small-scale servers and workstations, the standards require a more efficient power supply and energy efficient Ethernet.
There are more than 25 million computer monitors installed in homes and businesses in California. The Energy Commission standard establishes an amount of power a monitor or display can consume when on, and when in sleep or off modes. The standard will encourage the use of higher efficiency LED backlights and screen technologies.
For more information please see the frequently asked questions on the proposed computer and monitor standards. For quotations from other stakeholders, please see the Energy Commission blog post.
About the California Energy Commission
The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The agency was established by the California Legislature through the Warren-Alquist Act in 1974. It has seven core responsibilities: advancing state energy policy, encouraging energy efficiency, certifying thermal power plants, investing in energy innovation, developing renewable energy, transforming transportation and preparing for energy emergencies.