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Green Building News

California Approves Efficiency Standards for Computers

When inefficient computers are replaced, the state should save an estimated $370 million a year

New standards for more efficient computers will be phased in. Workstations and small-scale servers are the first to be covered, beginning in 2018.
Image Credit: Tommi Vertanen / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

The California Energy Commission has approved the country’s first energy-efficiency standards for computers and computer monitors, a move that will affect millions of devices and reduce utility bills collectively by $373 million a year.

In a post at the Appliance Standards Awareness Protect, Chris Granda says that the unanimous vote comes after years of work by the computer industry, the Natural Resources Defense Council, consumer groups, and investor-owned utilities.

The new standards will save 2,332 gigawatt hours of electricity a year, and come with a relatively modest increase in the cost of covered devices. An added $5 for a more efficient computer monitor will add up to $31 in savings over seven years; spending $10 more on a desktop computer will reap $44 in savings over five years.

For individuals, the savings aren’t huge. But given the number of computers, laptops, and workstations in California, statewide energy savings are projected to be substantial. The New York Times reported that the amount of energy saved annually will equal the electricity used by 350,000 homes.

Because California represents about one-eighth of the country’s population, the new standards could eventually become the template for a national efficiency standard, The Times said.

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