Will there be any synergy in government energy efficiency programs on computing devices?

ENERGY STAR® for computers version 5 went into effect July 2009, superseding version 4 from 2007.  Version 5 has higher efficiency limits, introduces an energy total calculation for personal computers, while also expanding the scope of products to include thin client systems.  The EPA released ENERGY STAR for computer servers in May 2009. The EPA also has plans for energy efficiency programs to cover enterprise storage systems and networks, along with updates to its existing programs in a year or two.

Japan, Europe, Australia, Canada and other countries have included the ENERGY STAR programs as part of their energy efficiency programs.  Japan has begun to enhance its TopRunner program for updates in a year or so.  Europe’s Energy Commission has an Energy Related Products (ErP), formerly Energy Using Produdct (EuP), program that complements their ENERGY STAR program with mandatory power requirements.  The ErP program has an upcoming implementing measure which sets a maximum Off-power (i.e. Lot #6) at 1W for personal computers effective January 2010.  Lot #6 lowers off-power limits to 0.5W in January 2013.   The European EC is reviewing additional "Lot"s to cover other system power characteristics and investigating programs to cover other systems such as servers. Korea just established its e-Standby program this year, 2009.  Australia and New Zealand have been developing its Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) as mandatory levels for personal computers. Other countries are following suit with their own energy efficiency programs.

In short, with the geo-political focus on energy efficiency and green-house-gases, many countries have or will begin instituting a number of power targets for computer systems. With multiple energy efficiency programs springing up, each has its own specific methods and targets.  The various criteria drive a common question of whether a product complies and to which specification.  At this fall’s Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco, I will host a panel discussion ECOP002: World Wide Information Communications Technology (ICT) Energy Efficiency Regulations: What Are They and Where Are They Headed? The panel includes Andrew Fanara from the US EPA, Rick Goss from the IT Industry Council, and Jan Viegand a lead  European Commission consultanat.  The panel will provide an overview, plans, and discussion on some of the major energy efficiency programs for computer systems.