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USA, Europe Jointly Raise Energy-Efficiency Standards for Office Equipment

BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 17, 2009 (ENS) – The European Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed today to implement new higher energy-efficiency specifications for computers, copiers and printers under the EU-US Energy Star Programme.

“The new criteria are an important contribution to reach the EU’s energy-efficiency targets,” said European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

Office equipment (Photo credit unknown)

“Energy Star is a very successful example of energy efficiency cooperation with the U.S., delivering concrete energy and CO2 savings worldwide, while saving citizens’ and enterprises’ money,” he said.

Manufacturers will apply to register their equipment as meeting the Energy Star standards. Most popular brands of computers are Energy Star qualified.

The new criteria are effective from July 1, and are expected to trigger electricity savings of 22 terawatt hours, TWh, or one billion kilowatt hours, during the next four to six years across the European Union.

That amount of electricity compares to the annual electricity consumption of Ireland. Energy Star standards are part of the EU’s strategy to better manage energy demand, contribute to security of energy supply and mitigate climate change, Piebalgs said.

The new technical specifications for computers and imaging equipment, such as printers, copiers, fax machines, and multifunctional devices were developed together with EU Member States, the US Environmental Protection Agency and stakeholders from around the world.

The new criteria for computers and imaging equipment are expected to save 18 TWh and 4 TWh, respectively, in the EU alone as a result of purchases over the next three years. The savings will be achieved over the lifetime of the products, during four to six years.

The new specifications apply to desktop computers, game consoles, integrated computer systems, notebook computers and tablet PCs, desktop-derived servers and workstations.

Not covered by the new specs are mid-range and large servers, thin clients and blade PCs, handhelds and personal digital assistants, PDAs.

The types of imaging equipment covered by the new specifications are copiers, fax machines, mailing machines, printers and scanners.

Criteria for new office equipment categories such as servers and data storage equipment soon will be added to the EU-US Energy Star program.

In May, EPA announced the first Energy Star requirements for computer servers that are intended to protect the environment and result in energy savings. On average, computer servers that earn the Energy Star label will be 30 percent more energy efficient than standard servers.

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