More on Calif. computer-power management: System standards proposed

Related to the “Save energy, spare the air with efficient computer usage” post, the California Energy Commission (CEC) on Mar. 12, 2015 in its “Energy Commission Releases Draft Energy Efficiency Computer Standards: Consumers Will Save Money Each Month on Electric Billsnews release in which the CEC wrote: “The California Energy Commission released today proposed energy efficiency standards for computers and monitors that will save consumers hundreds of millions of dollars every year. For desktop computers alone, it is estimated that a $2 increase in manufacturing costs will return $69 to consumers in energy savings over the five-year life of a desktop.

“When grouped together, computers and monitors are among the leading users of energy in California, and most sit idle, wasting energy and money while not in use. Although many manufacturers already choose to build relatively efficient models, the Energy Commission has determined significant efficiency improvements can be made-equivalent to the energy consumption of all homes in the cities of San Francisco and Santa Clara combined.”

Considering the savings detailed, implementation of the proposed energy efficiency standards makes sense. Cutting energy losses should be of paramount concern, and right now especially, considering the drought the state is dealing with.

“If the present dry spell continues unabated, a diminishing water supply will mean less in the way of hydroelectric generation, and that points toward increased reliance on electricity produced from other sources – renewable and non-renewable alike,” I argued in “A shrinking California water supply or no, power from renewables the way to go,” on Mar. 21, 2015 on the Air Quality Matters blog. Increased dependence on “other”-sourced electricity, puts added pressure on those other sources to provide the electricity Californians use.

The standards proposed, according to the CEC in the release, are a part of what the Commission terms a draft staff report. These vary by the kind of computer – desktops, notebooks, “small-scale servers” and “workstations” and permit the “industry flexibility to choose how to comply. Standards for notebooks, small-scale servers and workstation computers would take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Standards for desktop computers and thin-clients would take effect Jan. 1, 2018.”

The CEC’s Commissioner, Andrew McAllister and who leads the Commission on energy efficiency, pointed out in the release in question that in the Golden State there are about as many computers and computer monitors as there are Californians. Understanding this, considerable is the potential savings regarding improved computer efficiency.

Most importantly, the opportunity exists for digital-device power-management-system improvement, that is, provided the proposed standards are adopted.

“The Energy Commission developed the draft staff report and standards after receiving stakeholder input beginning in September 2012,” the CEC in the news release noted. “A workshop is scheduled for April 15, where public comments and further stakeholder input will be heard. The comments will guide changes to the staff analysis and proposed standards.”

– Alan Kandel