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EnergyStar Computer Spec 4.0 Finalized
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Author:  MikeC [ Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:36 pm ]
Post subject:  EnergyStar Computer Spec 4.0 Finalized

EnergyStar Computer Spec 4.0 Finalized

Author:  MikeC [ Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

Here's a comment about the article from Katharine Kaplan of the EPA:

Quote:
ENERGY STAR aims to help consumers identify the most energy efficient
products with the use of a simple, clear, single label. Our guiding
principals call on us to qualify approximately the top 25% of products
while ensuring that ENERGY STAR products are equal or better performance
than conventional products - in other words, we don't ask the consumer
to sacrifice when they buy ENERGY STAR. In order to make good on this
guiding principal, for all of our product categories, we consider the
different functionality or features of a type of product when
establishing ENERGY STAR requirements. Especially for products as
complex as computers, we consider the features of systems when setting
power limits. Ideally, and where we are aiming to be for Tier 2, we
would have a more fluid spec - where power allowances scale with
functionality. Absent an agreed upon metric for such scaling at the
time of the completion of Tier 1 requirements, we developed three bins
for desktops and two for notebooks and power allowances associated with
each bin. These bins attempt to allow the consumers the access to
feature rich but also energy efficient products. Without multiple
categories, only basic systems would qualify for ENERGY STAR. Altering
our label to reflect the bin in which a product resides would likely
cause confusion in the market place and move us away from our intent of
making buying an energy efficient computer very easy for the consumer.

To say that the Version 4.0 specification is only a small improvement
over 3.0 seems a bit unfair. Version 4.0 brings significant savings
over 3.0 through requirements associated with power supply efficiency as
well as active or idle power. Version 4.0 is expected to save U.S.
households and businesses more than $1.8 billion in energy costs over
the next 5 years and avoid greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking more
than 2.7 million cars from the road. If every computer purchased by
businesses meets the new ENERGY STAR requirements in effect next year,
businesses will save $1.2 billion over the lifetime of their new
computers, equal to lighting 730 million square feet of U.S. commercial
building space each year. Government agencies buying ENERGY STAR will
also garner big savings. If the government sector buys only computers
that meet the new ENERGY STAR requirements, this sector will save nearly
3 billion kWh each year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4.4
billion pounds each year. I don't think this is disappointing.

Regards-Katharine

Katharine Kaplan
ENERGY STAR Program
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Author:  jaganath [ Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

I can see one loophole that manufacturers might use to get an Energy Star rating without necessarily doing very much for energy efficiency; to a large extent the "Dual-Core Systems with 1GB RAM" and "Gaming/Heavy Multimedia Systems" categories overlap and manufacturers are bound to plump for Cat C rather than Cat B certification, given the choice.

The standout feature of the ES 4.0 spec is the 80% efficiency requirement; that is a big step forward, as even among the SPCR favourites there are only a handful of power supplies that meet or exceed this level.

Author:  mrzed [ Tue Nov 21, 2006 4:05 pm ]
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It reminds me of my recent experience shopping for a fridge, another appliance where I valued silence and efficiency above most other criteria.

I think an improvement would be not just providing a star rating, but an actual number based on assumed hours of idle/active use (kW/Hr/Yr). That way, people could still look for the energy star label, but also compare more readily across platforms. If the program required this labelling, it would be much fairer.

Back to the fridges, I was disappointed that giant side-by-side models could be Ener-Guide rated (similar program) while smaller fridges that used just over half the power were not. This is because the program only compares the fridge to other models with similar size/features. But the labels also offered an absolute point of comparison in estimated energy use.

Author:  Alec Ross [ Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

jaganath wrote:
I can see one loophole that manufacturers might use to get an Energy Star rating without necessarily doing very much for energy efficiency; to a large extent the "Dual-Core Systems with 1GB RAM" and "Gaming/Heavy Multimedia Systems" categories overlap and manufacturers are bound to plump for Cat C rather than Cat B certification, given the choice.

The standout feature of the ES 4.0 spec is the 80% efficiency requirement; that is a big step forward, as even among the SPCR favourites there are only a handful of power supplies that meet or exceed this level.


Honestly, i don't think we'll see a lot of that- the requirements for cat. C would drive up the price by quite a bit. There are only a few ways to go from B to C, and they involve an extra gig of memory, a TV tuner or an extra hard drive, on top of a 128mb GPU (though that means nearly nothing, you can get 128mb GeForce 6200 for chump change).

What I can see is a lot of systems going from failing cat. A to passing in cat. B- an extra half-gig of DDR2 only adds about 4W, and going from single-core to dual-core CPUs costs neirly nothing in terms of power- especially with new technologies from AMD that allow them to disable/downclock one core when it isn't being used.

It is illustrative to note that, based on the dataset the EPA used, only 11% of cat. A desktops will make the grade, compared to 40% for cat. B.

Author:  dhanson865 [ Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:32 pm ]
Post subject: 

mrzed wrote:
It reminds me of my recent experience shopping for a fridge, another appliance where I valued silence and efficiency above most other criteria.

I think an improvement would be not just providing a star rating, but an actual number based on assumed hours of idle/active use (kW/Hr/Yr). That way, people could still look for the energy star label, but also compare more readily across platforms. If the program required this labeling, it would be much fairer.


Agreed. Energy Star could gain some cred by copying the EPA MPG sticker. Instead of City and Highway MPG we could have Idle and Load. Make em send the units off to UL or some other large independent lab to gain the right to use the sticker.

Make the sticker be listed as PDF on any web site that sells the product and make the product box have a copy of the sticker inside the box (as an insert).

Specify Load as any benchmark that can keep a single core cpu above 90% usage and specify that multicore systems must run as many copies of the benchmark as necessary to keep all available CPUs occupied when determining the label numbers. Require the benchmark(s) to be run for no less than 15 minutes before taking the final reading.

Author:  dragmor [ Wed Nov 22, 2006 5:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

mrzed wrote:
It reminds me of my recent experience shopping for a fridge, another appliance where I valued silence and efficiency above most other criteria.

I think an improvement would be not just providing a star rating, but an actual number based on assumed hours of idle/active use (kW/Hr/Yr). That way, people could still look for the energy star label, but also compare more readily across platforms. If the program required this labelling, it would be much fairer.

Australia's energy star program does this. Each appliance gets a rating out of 6 stars as well as an estimated typical kW/h per year number. I think my fridge at home is ~800kW/h a year. We even have websites setup to help people buy appliances, recommendations on power savings, etc.

http://www.energyrating.gov.au/con3.html
http://www.energyrating.gov.au/rfl.html

Author:  jaganath [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:54 am ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
Australia's energy star program does this. Each appliance gets a rating out of 6 stars as well as an estimated typical kW/h per year number. I think my fridge at home is ~800kW/h a year. We even have websites setup to help people buy appliances, recommendations on power savings, etc.


Well it can't be having much impact, seeing as Australians are the biggest CO2 emitter per capita?

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 6:17 am ]
Post subject: 

jaganath wrote:
Quote:
Australia's energy star program does this. Each appliance gets a rating out of 6 stars as well as an estimated typical kW/h per year number. I think my fridge at home is ~800kW/h a year. We even have websites setup to help people buy appliances, recommendations on power savings, etc.


Well it can't be having much impact, seeing as Australians are the biggest CO2 emitter per capita?


I think in Australia, it's not the people that are the problem, it's the cows.

Author:  Mariner [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 7:18 am ]
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Ralf Hutter wrote:
I think in Australia, it's not the people that are the problem, it's the cows.


Surely you mean the Kangaroos? :P

Author:  AZBrandon [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 9:50 am ]
Post subject: 

dhanson865 wrote:
Agreed. Energy Star could gain some cred by copying the EPA MPG sticker. Instead of City and Highway MPG we could have Idle and Load.


I think that's a fantastic idea, plus when you look at an automotive sticker it also lists the estimated fuel cost as well. You could do the same thing for electricity since electric rates (for better or worse) are about as consistent as gasoline prices nationwide anyway. Seeing two servers that appear to do roughly the same thing, cost similar amounts, but one has a rating of 35/80 watts and the other is 95/170 watts would sway customers into buying the more efficient computers, if only so they can brag to their friends about having the "better" computer because it's more high tech in it's efficiency.

Author:  jaganath [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:34 am ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
if only so they can brag to their friends about having the "better" computer because it's more high tech in it's efficiency.


:wink: I've never heard anyone boast about the efficiency of their PC; it's normally "mine is OC'd to 3.7Ghz/does SuperPi in 0.03 secs/can play F.E.A.R at 1900x1200,full HDR,AA,AF"; generally the people who are interested in efficiency are not "go-faster stripe" kind of people; but for companies, efficiency goes straight to the bottom line, so it is in their interest to prioritise energy efficiency. Theoretically the same is true for individuals but I don't think the price of electricity is high enough yet to really get people to focus on efficiency.

Author:  darthan [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 1:37 pm ]
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It seems like Category A is almost useless. In just a two years there are going to be virtually no computers sold with less than a dual core processor and 1GB of memory.

Author:  dragmor [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

jaganath wrote:
Quote:
Australia's energy star program does this. Each appliance gets a rating out of 6 stars as well as an estimated typical kW/h per year number. I think my fridge at home is ~800kW/h a year. We even have websites setup to help people buy appliances, recommendations on power savings, etc.

Well it can't be having much impact, seeing as Australians are the biggest CO2 emitter per capita?

Alot of that has got to do with low population and vast distances. They include all shipping (imports and exports) in this figure, and most of Oz imports/exports come via cargo ship. The USA and Europe have the advantage of transporting things by rail. All those raw materials we send to china doesnt help either. Also most of our power is coal.

Author:  Ralf Hutter [ Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:16 am ]
Post subject: 

Mariner wrote:
Ralf Hutter wrote:
I think in Australia, it's not the people that are the problem, it's the cows.


Surely you mean the Kangaroos? :P


No, I mean cows:

http://rucus.ru.ac.za/~wolfman/Essays/Cow.html

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/NATURE/07/ ... index.html

Author:  jaganath [ Fri Nov 24, 2006 8:14 am ]
Post subject: 

Yes, methane is part of it, but I was talking specifically about CO2:

http://colinhunt.zenburger.com/australi ... house.html

Quote:
Australia relies on fossil fuels for its energy, unlike countries such as France that generate a large percentage of their electricity from nuclear power. It is also heavily engaged in energy intensive industries such as metal smelting, and in recent years has had comparatively high economic growth. As result, Australia is the second greatest emitter of carbon dioxide per head in the world, surpassed only by the U.S. Australians averaged just over 18 tonnes of CO2 per head in year 2000, compared with 20.5 for the average American.


This is all off-topic now, so can be carried on in the correct forum if there is interest.

Author:  plympton [ Sun Nov 26, 2006 10:13 am ]
Post subject: 

darthan wrote:
It seems like Category A is almost useless. In just a two years there are going to be virtually no computers sold with less than a dual core processor and 1GB of memory.


But if I read the article correct, it also refers to gaming machines (Consoles?) and the like (Tivo's?). Correct me if'n I'm wrong, but that could represent a whole slew of machines.

Granted, most consoles are multiple core these days, too....

-Dan

Author:  Cerb [ Mon Nov 27, 2006 9:43 am ]
Post subject: 

Why even count cores or RAM for the category? It seems like an artificial way to get an energy star sticker by not crunching down on power use as much. Oh, wait... ;)

But, it's better than nothing, and we all know we'll be scouring reviews for cat A systems.

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