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ENERGY STAR® Qualified Office Equipment

Computers (Version 5.0)

In a typical office, computer/monitor combinations far outweigh all other office equipment in terms of energy consumption. The good news is that this offers significant opportunities to achieve energy savings by purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified machines and encouraging users to turn them off when not in use.

Qualifying Products

The products that qualify under this version are:

Energy Star High Efficiency Logo
  • Desktop computers
  • Integrated Desktop computers
  • Notebook computers
  • Workstations
  • Game consoles
  • Small-scale servers
  • Thin clients

The products that do not qualify under this version are:

  • Computer servers (covered by the ENERGY STAR specification for computer servers)
  • Handhelds, PDAs, and smartphones

Energy Efficiency and Power Management Criteria

To qualify, the products must meet 3 sets of mandatory requirements:

  • power supply efficiency requirements
  • efficiency and performance requirements
  • power management requirements

The specification also outlines a set of voluntary requirements.

Power Supply Efficiency Requirements
Computers Using an Internal Power Supply At 50% of rated output : 85% minimum efficiency
At 20% and 100% of rated output, with Power Factor ≥0.9 at 100% of rated output : 82% minimum efficiency
Computers Using an External Power Supply The external power supply must meet the designated ENERGY STAR specification for EPS. Note that this specification will sunset December 31st, 2010. It is our intention to replace it with a requirement to comply with a level V EPS as designated under the International Efficiency Marking Protocol.

Efficiency and Performance Requirements

There are different requirements depending on the category of computer:

  • desktops, integrated desktops and notebooks
  • workstations
  • game consoles
  • small-scale servers
  • thin clients
  1. For desktops, integrated desktops and notebooks, there is a total energy consumption (TEC) limit according to seven different subcategories. For more details about the TEC formula, the TEC limits per subcategory and the definition for each subcategory please refer to the full text of the specification.
  2. For workstations, the TEC is determined according to a formula based on weightings for each operational mode.
  3. Game console levels have not been defined yet and therefore are not yet in effect.
  4. For small scale servers, the off mode power requirement is ≤2 Watts, while the idle mode requirement varies from ≤50 Watts to ≤65 Watts depending on the sub-category.
  5. For thin clients, both the off mode and sleep mode (if applicable) power requirement is ≤2 Watts, while the idle mode requirement varies from ≤12 Watts to ≤15 Watts depending on the sub-category.

Power Management Requirements

Power management requirements are in place for sleep mode, display sleep mode, Wake on LAN, and Wake Management.

View our list of ENERGY STAR qualified models

We are currently sharing lists of ENERGY STAR qualified office equipment with ENERGY STAR in the United States. When you click on the products above, you will be taken to a product list on the U.S. ENERGY STAR web site. Many of the products listed are available in Canada.

Energy Efficiency Gains for Desktop Units

Features of an Energy-efficient Computer

Significant improvements have been made in the energy efficiency of desktop personal computers (PCs) over the past decade, thanks in large part to the migration of energy-efficient features from the world of laptops to desktop machines.

The most important of these features is the power management capability that places the computer and monitor in sleep mode when they are not being used. While in this mode, computers consume up to 90 percent less electricity than when fully operational, although they are available essentially on demand (i.e. the system does not have to be rebooted). A simple touch of any key on the keyboard or movement of the mouse is enough to bring computers out of their sleep mode. This power management capability is mandatory for a computer to meet the ENERGY STAR technical specifications.

Laptops Are Energy-Efficiency Winners

The most energy-efficient computer/monitor combination is a laptop unit. Laptops use a maximum of 15 watts (compared with 80 to 160 watts for desktop PCs) and automatically power down (go into sleep mode) after several minutes of inactivity.

However, their lower energy consumption does not necessarily mean that laptops will save you money in the long term. Laptops are usually more expensive to purchase than comparable desktop units. The cost and inconvenience of recharging and eventually replacing batteries must be considered. In addition, laptops generally have inferior displays and do not offer the full range of features available in desktop units.

Still, laptops can be ideal for certain applications, inside and outside the office. When purchasing a laptop, compare the integrated or advanced power management features of different models. Although they are likely quite similar, some models may have additional energy-saving features.

Making the Right Choice

When purchasing a new computer and monitor, it is important to match your needs. Although the addition of unnecessary hardware will likely increase a PC's energy requirements, you will want to ensure that the machine gives you the functionality needed for the tasks you want to perform (whether at work or at home).

Keep the following points in mind:

  • As a rule, the faster the processor speed, the more energy the machine will use.
  • The larger the memory (RAM), the greater the energy consumption.
  • The addition of extra "boards" or components (e.g. CD writers) will likely increase the system's energy requirements.
  • Nameplate power ratings can provide a useful but imprecise comparison of energy use (due to the lack of common measurement standards).
  • Consider purchasing upgradeable machines so you can install bigger hard drives or new microprocessors as your needs change, rather than purchasing an entirely new computer.

The ENERGY STAR name and symbol is administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada