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

January 12, 2005

Energy Star Sets New Guidelines for External Power Supplies

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on January 6th that the Energy Star label is now available for external power supplies, which are used to power electronic products such as cell phones, personal digital assistants, digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, routers, and other electronics and appliances. The EPA is working with manufacturing and retail partners such as Phihong, Lite On, Bias Power, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung Telecommunications America, and Panasonic. On average, Energy-Star-qualified power supplies will be 35 percent more efficient than today's typical models.

The EPA estimates that as many as 1.5 billion external power supplies are in use in the United States, about five for every person. According to the EPA, more efficient power supplies have the potential to save more than 5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, avoiding the release of more than 4 million tons of greenhouse gases. See the EPA press release.

The new Energy Star specification is equal to California's "Tier 1" efficiency standards, which take effect in July 2006, and is also equal to the international efficiency marking protocol of "III." Power supplies bearing a "III" within a circle will meet this standard. For more information the Energy Star specification and the international efficiency marking protocol, see the Energy Star Web site.

The EPA also announced on January 5th that it has tightened the energy efficiency requirements for Energy Star-labeled computer monitors. While the old standard only addressed energy use in the "sleep" mode, the new standard also addresses energy consumption while the monitors are in use. See the EPA press release.