California adopts first U.S. energy- saving rules for computers

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California regulators has adopted the nation’s first mandatory energy efficiency rules for computers and monitors – devices that account for three per cent of home electric bills and seven per cent of commercial power costs in the state.

The state Energy Commission said that when fully implemented the industry-backed plan will save consumers 373 million dollars a year and conserve at least as much electricity annually as it takes to power all of San Francisco’s households.

Final approval at a meeting of the five-member-commission in Sacramento capped several years spent developing the rules in collaboration with computer-makers, consumer-activists, the Natural Resources-Defense-Council (NRDC) and other environmental groups.

The new rules will cut greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion to generate power by 700,000 tons a year, the NRDC said.

The standards work by setting benchmarks for machines’ overall energy use – focusing on when they are turned on but left inactive – and leave manufacturers flexibility to choose which efficiency measures are employed to meet the standards.

This is an approach aimed at fostering innovation. The rules drew support from nearly 40 companies represented by the Information Technology Industry Council. Included are such Silicon Valley giants as HP Inc and Intel Corp.

HP environmental compliance manager Paul Ford called the standards “groundbreaking,” describing them as “ambitious but achievable.”


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