California passed new legislation to require new energy efficiency limits on monitors, desktop computers, workstations, notebooks, and small servers. The limits will be phased in over time beginning on January 1st, 2018.
- January 1, 2018 – Standards for workstations and small-scale servers
- January 1, 2019 – Standards for notebook computers and Tier 1 desktop computers
- July 1, 2019 – Tier 1 standards for computer monitors
- January 1, 2021 – Tier 2 standards for computer monitors
- July 1, 2021 – Tier 2 standards for desktop computers
It is common for California to lead the way with legislation like this. While only hardware sold in California is impacted by the law, the size of California’s market will certainly shape the rest of the industry. There are more than 25 million monitors in homes and businesses in California.
The standards set a baseline energy use target, with additions for features and technologies, for each category of device with energy use limits on active, sleep, or off devices. More efficient devices can be built, as the California Energy Commission believes, and while it might increase the initial cost of the device, that increase will be paid off over the life of the device through lower energy consumption.
The Energy Commission estimates the standards for desktop computers will add about $10 to the cost of a computer when they first take effect but save consumers more than $40 in electricity bills over five years. These standards become more stringent over time to drive improvements in desktops over multiple design cycles. For desktop computers, the first-tier standards would take effect January 1, 2019, while the second-tier would take effect July 1, 2021.
For more information, you can see this statement from the California Energy Commission, their related blog post, and an FAQ graphic (PDF).