EPA unveils new Energy Star specs for monitors

Improving technology prompts agency to create more stringent requirements

The Department of Environmental Protection is tightening the requirements for computer monitors to qualify for an Energy Star label, noting the increasing use of energy efficient LED technology and methods that focus light on the person in front of a monitor.

About 45% of all PC monitors made today qualify for an Energy Star label under the current requirements, which were created about four years ago. Less than 25% of PC monitors sold today would meet the new 5.0 specifications, which take effect in October, the EPA said.

The Energy Star program is voluntary unless vendors sell to the U.S. government, which requires that any products it buys carry the label. The government purchases around 700,000 monitors a year, according to an EPA estimate.

Christopher Kent, an EPA Energy Star specification development manager, said the agency sets the rating criteria with the expectation that 25% of products will qualify for an Energy Star label. A compliance market share at 45% "is sort of beyond where Energy Star feels comfortable being," he said.

The new Energy Star specification applies only to those monitors manufactured after the change takes effect.

The new ratings for LCD monitors will produce energy savings around 20% from the existing specification, the EPA estimates. A 19-inch monitor with a display of 1280x1024 or 1.3 megapixels will have maximum power consumption of about 22.8 watts if it meets the new criteria. The EPA has made changes in how it calculates usage, but under version 4.0 of the Energy Star standard the limit is 36.4 watts for a similar 19-inch monitor.

Lower power consumption will also be helpful for those users turning to larger 24" monitors as well as the use of dual monitors. .

The EPA can upgrade the requirements due to a variety of changes, including a shift by monitor manufacturers to LED backlighting from cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) lighting, said Norbert Hildebrand, an analyst at Insight Media Inc., which covers the monitor market.

It's not just the shift to LEDs from fluorescent lights that is boosting monitor efficiency. Vendors are also using technologies that reuse light that is reflected internally in the monitor, as well as film technologies. "You don't want people two desks over seeing light from the monitor," said Hildebrand.

Doug Johnson, a senior director, technology policy, at the Consumer Electronics Association, said the Energy Star criteria "achieves market transformation in a way that does not impede innovation."

In recent years, the EPA has moved its Energy Star program deeper into the data center by developing specifications for servers and other IT systems.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags lcd monitors

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?