Technology

California adopts nation’s first energy-efficiency standards for computers, monitors

AP

The California Energy Commission on Wednesday voted to adopt the nation’s first energy-efficiency standards for computers and monitors sold in the state.

Proposed in March 2015, the standards include more energy-efficient monitor screens, improved “sleep” modes for computers when not in use and enhancements in automatic power management.

The commission said the standards could save an estimated 2,332 gigawatt-hours a year, reducing combined utility bills by a projected $373 million annually, once less-efficient computers and monitors are replaced with those meeting the standards.

The commission said that is enough energy to power about 350,000 average California homes for a year.

California’s mandated standards are viewed as a possible forerunner to the U.S. Department of Energy’s implementation of computer energy use standards nationwide.

The adopted standards were applauded by multiple organizations.

“These new computer efficiency standards give manufacturers clear goals and a level playing field,” said Richard Holober executive director of the Sacramento-based Consumer Federation of California.

The commission’s approval included a phased introduction of standards from Jan. 1, 2018, to July 1, 2021.

The standards mandate a computer to turn off its monitor after 15 minutes of inactivity and would force a computer into sleep mode after 30 minutes of inactivity.

The CEC said the standards and projected savings vary by device. For example, the estimated savings of a computer monitor is more than $30 over seven years with an initial increase in cost of about $5. For desktop computers, estimated savings range from about $40 to $55 over five years with an initial cost increase of less than $10 to $14.

California’s mandated standards are viewed in the industry as a possible forerunner to the U.S. Department of Energy’s implementation of computer energy use standards nationwide.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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