California Adopts Efficiency Standards for Computers and Monitors

California Is First State To Set Energy-Efficiency Limits For Computers

NPR, December 16, 2016

California is the first state to adopt efficiency standards for computers and monitors, the state’s energy commission announced this week.

The commission approved regulations that limit the amount of energy computers and small servers can use when they are idling, asleep or turned off. The regulations for monitors will also limit the amount of energy the apparatus uses when it is turned on.

The limits will go into effect over the course of three years, starting with regulations on small-scale servers and office workstation computers beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

When all the regulations are in effect, the commission estimates the electricity cost savings for the state “could save consumers an estimated $373 million annually.”

The regulations will cause the prices of computers and monitors to go up, the commission acknowledges. It estimates laptop computers will increase by $1, and desktops by less than $10. Most laptop computers already comply with the new standards, according to a commission report.

Monitors will go up by about $5 and workstation computers, which are usually more expensive than regular desktops, are expected to increase in cost by about $13.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that while the regulations apply only to computers in California, “the sheer size of the state’s share of the computer market is so formidable — California by itself accounts for 25 million computer monitors, 23 million laptops and 21 million desktops — the new standards will have ripple effects across the country and beyond.”

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