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.
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.