Friday, November 30, 2007

Mandatory energy efficiency standards for computers

The Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) has released "Analysis of the Potential for Minimum Energy Performance Standards for Computers and Monitors". They are looking at energy efficiency standards in Australia and NZ, for personal computers and monitors, similar to those on other consumer products. Comments can be made to Richard Collins, Consultant to the Australian Government's Equipment Energy Efficiency Team by Friday 7th December (his contact details are on the cover of the report).

Below are some excerpts from the
Executive Summary. The only issue I can see with the proposal is that the US standards it is proposed to adopt do not anticipate the new category of low power desktop computer now merging. Units such as the Zonbu, consume less than 20 Watts, which is far less than the smallest 50 W category in the ENERGY STAR computer specifications V4.0. Perhaps an extra 25 W category is needed.
This report was commissioned, within the scope of the Equipment Energy Efficiency Program (E3), to explore the potential for energy and greenhouse savings through improvements to desktop and notebook/tablet computers and cathode ray tube (CRT) and liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors in Australia and New Zealand.
Current Energy Consumption Computers and monitors consume significant amounts of energy in the Australia and New Zealand markets and this is forecast to increase. It is estimated that, in 2006, computers and monitors consumed more than 6,800 GWh in Australia and 1,300 GWh in New Zealand, resulting in
greenhouse gas emissions of 7Mt CO2-e and 0.8Mt CO2-e respectively. ...

Typical home computer system energy consumption exceeds that of some products already subject to mandatory energy performance labelling.

From an Australia wide perspective, office and home computer system energy consumption dwarfs that of some products already subject to energy performance labelling.

Energy Consumption Issues
This report demonstrates, using international and local data, that it is clear that in the supply sector (hardware), many computers and monitors consume much more power than many equivalent products already in the market place. With the exception of government directives and corporate requirements, consumers generally have little market influence on hardware power consumption.

At the operational level, it is evident that utilisation of ‘built in’ power saving features for computers is less than a quarter. Power saving settings for monitors is much higher, circa 80% enabled. US Environmental Protection Agency tests demonstrate that lower energy computers and monitors are available in the market place, but there are also many other models that consume significantly
higher amounts of energy. Similarly, analysis of European ENERGY STAR data show that low energy monitors are available as are many more that consume significantly more energy.

The following chart, based upon European studies, shows the step reductions that can be achieved by increasing power supply efficiency to 80%, enabling power management only and finally implementing both. These are relatively simple, but significant reductions. ...

Forecast Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This is influenced by two parameters.
  • Hardware trends and market growth.
  • What is technically achievable, compared to business as usual. As above, analysis of the international studies indicates that by using more efficient hardware and enabling power management, (addressing market failure/business as usual) energy consumption could be reduced by as much as 45% for some products. The overall impact of improvements in the market place would increase over time, as inferior products are retired and replaced with energy efficient products.
Two growth forecasts have been analysed using business as usual (BAU) data and the introduction of mandatory measures, from October 2009, thus reducing energy consumption from 2010 onwards after current stock is sold.

  • A conservative forecast uses growth rates returning to levels experienced prior to the high growth that was experienced from 2003 - circa 8% per annum with market saturation being reached in 2014.
  • An aggressive forecast that continues the high growth from 2003 – circa 20% to 2009, with the growth tapering off after market saturation in 2010.
The following charts show forecast Australian and New Zealand energy consumption for the two growth scenarios for the BAU and mandatory measures. In the aggressive growth chart, energy is forecast to reduce after 2009 due increased penetration of lower energy consuming notebook computers and LCD monitors.

Australian greenhouse gas emission savings in 2014 are estimated to be 3.52 Mt CO2-e and 3.18 Mt CO2-e for the conservative and aggressive growths respectively.

New Zealand greenhouse gas emission savings in 2014 are estimated to be 0.41 Mt CO2-e and 0.37 Mt CO2-e for the conservative and aggressive growths respectively. ...

As opposed to voluntary schemes, minimum energy performance standards and energy rating labels have a good track record in reducing energy consumption of a range of domestic appliances and commercial/industrial products.

To address hardware market failure, information failure and power management enablement failure, it is recommended that the following actions be taken.
  • Australian and New Zealand Standards are developed, based upon ENERGY STAR V4.0 for computer test methods. Computers to be included are both stationary and portable units, including desktop computers, integrated computers, notebook computers, tablet computers and desktop-derived servers
  • An Australian and New Zealand Standard is developed, based upon ENERGY STAR V4.1 for computer monitor test methods.
  • An Australian and New Zealand Standard is developed, based upon the Generalised Internal Power Supply Test Protocol Rev 6.1, for internal power supply test methods and computer internal power supply efficiency is no less than 80% when tested to this standard.
  • That E3 plans to introduce MEPS, including mandatory power management enablement prior to supply, for computers, based upon ENERGY STAR computer specifications V4.0 as follows: ...
  • That E3 plans to introduce MEPS for monitors, based upon ENERGY STAR specification version 4.1 Tier 1 as follows: ...
  • That E3 plans to introduce a voluntary ’high efficiency’ energy performance level for monitors, based upon ENERGY STAR specification version 4.1 Tier 2 as follows: ...
  • That the Australian and New Zealand standard includes mandatory energy performance labels for computers and monitors.
  • To address energy performance of smaller ‘one off’ manufacturers, ’deem to comply’ conditions are included in the computer and monitor standards. Mandatory labelling would also apply.
Proposed Timetable ...

AIIA meeting to flag intentions May 2007
Publication of computer and monitor profile fact sheet August 2007
Australian proposal to AP6 to develop harmonised standards August 2007
Draft technical report for industry comment October 2007
Release of E3 Plan October 2007
Consultation with Industry August – October 2007
Draft standards for Standards working group October 2007
Consideration of draft Standard by Working Group of Standards Committee (TE-01) November 2007

Publication of Draft Standards
Publication of draft cost benefit analysis January 2008

Publication of Standards
Draft Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) May 2008
Stakeholder forum to discuss draft RIS July 2008
Final (decision) RIS clearance September 2008

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