Report: California Can Save $373M Annually With Energy Efficient Computers

The California Energy Commission found that the “core opportunity” for energy savings in computers is through reducing the amount of energy while in idle mode.

by News Staff / September 14, 2016

In a last attempt to save consumers money on their electricity bill before going to a vote at the end of this year, the California Energy Commission released an updated staff report on Friday on new proposed standards for computers and monitors that could save Californians an estimated $373 million annually.

In the space of a single year, computers and computer monitors use “an estimated 5,610 gigawatt-hours of electricity, which equals about 3 percent of residential electricity use and 7 percent of commercial use,” according to the report.

The commission found that the “core opportunity” for energy savings in computers is through reducing the amount of energy while in idle mode. The standards include changes to computers’ idle modes and energy-efficient monitors by setting an energy-use baseline and then placing a computer into categories, based on the additional technology added to the unit.

“Computers are an everyday appliance for many Californians and waste energy when they often sit idle,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who is the Energy Commission's lead on energy efficiency in the commission’s Friday press release. “Cutting energy while no one is using a computer can save consumers millions on their utility bills, which reduces the need to generate more electricity. The proposed standards are a win-win made possible by the cooperation of so many who contributed their knowledge throughout the process.”

The commission noted that the majority of “notebook computers” are already energy-efficient, and the proposed standards base for notebooks is 30 kilowatt hours per year. It would take effect Jan. 1, 2019. The estimated additional cost is $1 and saves consumers more than double that over four years.

According to the recommendations in the release, “small-scale servers and workstations, the component requirements and power management settings are consistent with the ENERGY STAR 6.1 voluntary standards. The standards would take effect Jan. 1, 2018. The estimated increase in cost for both small-scale servers and workstations is $13. Over five years, the savings would be nearly $30 for workstations and $20 for small-scale servers.”

The commission will hold a workshop on October 10 and comments on the proposed standards can be made through Oct. 24.

This article was originally published on TechWire.