Energy Commission Proposes To Save Californians Millions by Reducing Energy Use of Computers and Monitors

When grouped together, computers and monitors are among the leading users of energy in California, and most sit idle, wasting energy and money while not in use. Although some relatively efficient models already exist, the California Energy Commission has determined that significant efficiency improvements can be made.

Those improvements, which were released this week, would potentially save about 2,500 gigawatt hours per year and reduce utility bills more than $400 million annually by 2024. This is enough electricity savings to power all the homes in San Francisco for one year.

The Energy Commission released a new version of proposed energy efficiency standards for computers, monitors, and displays. The first draft of these standards was released March 2015. The revised proposal primarily focuses on updating and clarifying standards for desktop computers.

Additional research, testing, and stakeholder input, identified improvements to the hard-drive and power supply as primary opportunities to save more energy. The proposed standards also exclude some specialized computers.

Proposed standards vary by computer type—notebook and desktop computers, workstations, and small-scale servers—and allow the industry flexibility to choose how to comply. Standards would take effect January 1, 2018. A more stringent standard for units with graphics cards would take effect January 1, 2019.

Public workshops and several meetings with industry were held following the release of the first proposal. Public comments and further stakeholder input will be heard at an April 26 workshop. The comments will guide changes to the proposed standards.

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Energy Efficiency

California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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