Sunday, July 27, 2008

Energy Efficiency for Desktop computers, laptops and monitors

On 26 October 2004, a series of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) proposals that were released by the Australian Government, in conjunction with state regulators and NZ (NAEEEC reports 2004/06 to 2004/17 ). One of these was a "MEPS Profile - Computers & Computer Monitors", with proposals for the regulatory proposal for minimum energy use by computer monitors, desktop computers and laptops. The proposal was based on the US Energy Star system, with some less stringent criteria, however going beyond a voluntary system to make it mandatory.

Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS)

MEPS programs are Australian/NZ Standards made mandatory by state and NZ government legislation and regulations. Locally manufactured and imported products for which MEPS is mandatory include: refrigerators and freezers, electric water heaters (from 1 October 1999), air conditioners , fluorescent lamps. Products for which MEPS is being considered include: Air compressors, Home Electronics and Office Equipment, Lighting, Standby, , Stoves and cooktops, and Water heaters.

Home Electronics and Office Equipment

MEPS proposals for Home electronics (TVs, VCR, audio and related entertainment equipment) and office equipment (computers and related equipment, copiers, faxes) were released in October 2004. This was in addition to the "standby strategy", where the power is consumed to maintain a device ready use. Initial reports were released, followed by later analysis and stakeholder forums. It should be noted that some reports refer to "home computers", but later reports do not distinguish between desktop computers and notebooks used for home or office. Those related to computers include:

  • Final Report on Community Attitudes to the Possibility of Energy Efficiency Labelling of Television Sets and Home Computers. Report No 2007/05, April 2007.
  • Ministerial media release November 2006, announcing a mandatory limit of 1 Watt in standby for all products by 2012.
  • MEPS Profile - External Power Supplies - This report proposes MEPS and marking for external power supplies. Report 2004/07, October 2004.
  • MEPS Profile - Computers & Computer Monitors: Report 2004/06 , October 2004.
  • A Study of Office Equipment Operational Energy Use Issues. Report 2003/07 , February 2003.

MEPS for Computers 2004

The initial measures proposed in"Minimum Energy Performance Standards Computers and Computer Monitors", (by Mark Ellis & Associates, for the National Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Committee (NAEEEC), October 2004) were for:

  • External power supplies for laptops and monitors (MEPS profile 2004/07)
  • Computer monitors
  • Internal computer power supplies

The plan was for NAEEEC to develop an Australia/New Zealand standard, based on the US Energy Star system (2004 version). It was anticipated this would be similar to that to be mandated in California in 2008.

The standard was to include requirements for power consumption at no-load and in active mode, to be in effect by 2007.

The mandatory levels were likely to be less stringent than the Energy Star criteria, but possibly with a "high efficiency" category, equivalent to Energy Star.

It was also anticipated the standard would require PCs be shipped with standby enabled and minimum default times set (as per Energy Star requirements). This was to overcome the situation where customers would not enable the features.

MEPS For External Power Supplies 2004

- This report proposes MEPS and marking for external power supplies. Report 2004/07, October 2004.

Background

This report is one of a series of 12 MEPS proposals that were released on 26 October 2004. The full list of these reports can be found in the list of 2004 Publications (NAEEEC reports 2004/06 to 2004/17 inclusive). Each of the proposals includes a government summary which outlines the regulatory proposal and a detailed technical report which provides background information on the product and proposals.

Summary: External Power Supplies

Minimum Energy Performance Standards EXTERNAL POWER SUPPLIES, was prepared by Mark Ellis & Associates fpr the the National Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Committee October 2004. Unlike many appliances, the report points out that external power supplies usually have no switch and so consume power while plugged in. They usually have two modes of operation: with and without the end-use appliance drawing load. The report points out that such devices spend much of their time under part load conditions.

The first part of the document outlines:

  • some background about the product including stock numbers and energy consumption;
  • steps towards international harmonisation;
  • the NAEEEC plan for this product including MEPS proposals;
  • the impact of MEPS.

The technical report covers:

  • Product description
  • Power Modes
  • Energy consumption, greenhouse emissions and potential savings
  • Australian and international policies for this product.
California Energy Commission Programs
In addition to regulations, the California Energy Commission has an education program , including "Professor Questor Saving Energy" (for children), and the
Bright School Program.

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