Consumer Advocates Support California's Proposed Energy Standards for Computers

Consumer Advocates Support California's Proposed Energy Standards for Computers
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March 17, 2015

Consumer advocates are supporting new energy efficiency standards proposed by the California Energy Commission (CEC) last week.

The new standards will apply to computers, monitors and displays, which could save California consumers $430 million annually on their utility bills by 2023.

Despite their size, electricity generated by computers, game consoles and network connectivity devices represents 5 percent of energy consumption. The amount of energy used to power these devices has increased five-fold, according to a 2014 analysis by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

"We will examine the standards in detail and look forward to participating in the proceeding, but our initial reading leads us to conclude that the proposed standards exhibit the characteristics that our research shows result in effective consumer and energy savings," said CFA Director of Research Mark Cooper.

The standards call for significant energy innovation for desk-top computers, upgrades to small-scale services and workstations and improvements in notebook computers.

CFA and Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports find that the targets are strong and reasonable and consistent with the marketplace. They offer manufacturers flexibility and are in line with regulations being adapted globally.

"California has set the energy efficiency bar for the nation on everything from vehicles to buildings to refrigerators. A consumer-driven standard for desk-top computer efficiency should do no less," said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union.