ENERGY STAR Meeting Covers Tablets, Netbooks & Workstations

Late last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted a two-day meeting to discuss the V2.0 ENERGY STAR® Computer Server Program and the V6.0 Computer Program.  MET Laboratories’ ENERGY STAR Program Manager Sam Tetteh was there.  Here are his notes:

Tablets & Netbooks
The EPA proposed the introduction of tablets and netbooks as a product category in the ENERGY STAR program for computers. Since these types of products are charged and run on battery most of the time, their Battery Charging System (BCS) is critical and will have to be evaluated during qualification testing.

The IT industry, however, disagreed and thought slates and netbooks are, by definition, energy efficient (10KWh/yr) and should not be subject to the ENERGY STAR program. They also argued that the BCS and External Power Supply (EPS) are already covered by other EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency programs. They also said tablets and netbooks should be treated completely different from notebooks.

TEC Calculations
The EPA and Ecma International also said the display power will be included in Typical Electricity Consumption (TEC) calculations for systems integrated displays (including notebooks).

The IT industry thinks this new method will require more vetting by the industry and not enough data has been collected to get things right in version 6 of the computer specification. They also said the TEC limits should be increased to account for the display size and performance if and when it is implemented.

The industry also requested that the requirements for internal and external power supplies remain unchanged in the upcoming version 6 of the computer specification.

Workstations
With workstations, the EPA intends to incorporate active mode efficiency in addition to the current requirements. There will be no limits levels for active mode, only the power and performance data will be required, similar to the Power and Performance Data Sheet (PPDS) for servers.

On this issue, the industry said it will be very difficult to find one benchmark to create the PPDS. They also suggested there should be no change in the current requirements for workstations, thin client and small scale servers due to the small number of partners and products in these product categories.

PAIA Considerations
The EPA will introduce Product Attribute to Impact Algorithm (PAIA), which is intended to predict hot spots (including components, materials, etc) that will impact the environment after the product is taken out of service.

The industry opposed the inclusion of provisions involving life-cycle energy beyond the use phase of the product, saying that it will dilute the ENERGY STAR brand.  PAIA, they say, should be considered for inclusion in other multi-facet eco labels already existing.

For more information, see the ENERGY STAR discussion document on Server Energy Use Evaluation.

Also, ask to be notified when registration opens for MET’s April 19 webinar on ENERGY STAR Testing and Certification.

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