This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 07, 2007

New Energy Star Computers Could Save $1.8 Billion Over 5 Years

More than 500 computer products are now meeting new Energy Star standards that took effect in July, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Thanks to the efforts of more than 35 manufacturers, a wide range of computer products now include internal power supplies that are at least 80% efficient, that is, less than 20% of the power fed into them is lost as heat. The new standard applies to desktop and notebook (or laptop) computers, game consoles, integrated computer systems, desktop-derived servers, and workstations. If every U.S. household and business replaced their old computers with new Energy Star-qualified models, the nation would save more than $1.8 billion in energy costs over the next five years. The Energy Star program is a joint effort of DOE and the EPA. See the EPA press release, the product list (MS Excel 142 KB), and the computers section of the Energy Star Web site.

Photo of a group of workers with hard hats standing and watching while tiny laptop computers are assembled by a row of seated workers.

Mass production of the tiny energy-sipping OX laptop began at Quanta Computer in Taiwan on November 6th.
Credit: OLPC

One of the more remarkable computers on the Energy Star list is the XO laptop, created by a non-profit organization called One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). The laptop consumes one-tenth the electricity of a typical laptop, using only two watts during normal operation and one watt while idle. This allows it to be recharged with a manual crank, so it can be used in areas without electrical power. The organization aims to distribute the laptop to children in developing countries, with the goal of providing every child in the world with access to knowledge and modern forms of education. Mass production of the XO laptop started on November 6th at Quanta Computer in Taiwan. See the OLPC Web site and Wiki.

In other Energy Star news, four JCPenney stores in the state of Washington are the first retail buildings in the country to earn the Energy Star label for superior energy efficiency and environmental performance. Located in the towns of Puyallup, Vancouver, Bellevue and Burlington, the four stores use about 35% less energy than typical retail stores nationwide. Compared to similar stores nationwide, the JCPenney stores collectively spend almost $250,000 less per year on energy. As of October 1st, retail buildings can qualify for the Energy Star label if they rate in the top 25 percent of similar retail buildings nationwide. See the EPA press release and the retail buildings section of the Energy Star Web site.