New Efficiency Standards in the Works for US Electronics

The U.S. Department of Energy recently released a pair of documents that outlined new energy consumption requirements for electronic equipment.

Washington, D.C. – July 20, 2013 – In 1973, the federal government created new energy use standards in the aftermath of that year’s oil crisis. The U.S. Department of Energy has ruled that the 40-year-old law also covers computer equipment and servers.

The proposed new criteria would only be enacted if the average household consumption exceeded 150 kwh yearly. According to sources from the Department of Energy, the government may mandate that manufacturers create more energy-efficient products. The Department noted that estimates indicate current kilowatt-hour usage per household in the United States is nearly 300 kwh—twice the proposed threshold amount.

As computers will most likely remain an integral part of American life, it becomes more important to ensure that valuable natural resources are conserved. The plan may not be applicable to servers as there are far fewer private servers in the United States than there are personal computers—including laptops and tablets. Server power usage, when divided among all households in the United States, is thought to be no more than 100 kwh each year. While not enough to make servers an inclusion into the proposed law, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) could still mandate stricter labeling for hardware.

Though the Department of Energy has outlined tentative plans, this proposal remains open for public input through mid-August. This notice comes on the heels of President Obama’s climate change plan released in June. It is very likely that the new energy standards will be adopted over the coming years.

Many Republicans have criticized Obama’s recent executive actions, including the climate change plan. The energy plan, which calls for additional renewable energy located on federal property, higher energy efficient standards, and stricter carbon emissions regulations, will be reviewed by leading experts in the Department of Energy. During the announcement, it was noted that the EPCA has the authority to enforce the new laws, if adopted. The law would require manufacturers to design products that entered a sleep mode that consumed less power than current standards.

If the new requirements are mandated, it would lead to significant savings across the U.S. Consumers would see a $100 million savings collectively in energy costs per year, prevent the emissions of more than 1.4 billion pounds of greenhouses gases, and save nearly 900 million kwh annually.

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