The US Environmental Protection Agency will today hold a meeting to discuss their latest draft
of the Energy Star 5.0 efficiency rating system, and it's looking like manufacturers are in for a tougher test schedule.
The Energy Star rating has been around since 1992, and is a scheme designed to ensure consumer gadgets – originally computing devices, but later expanded to include most home appliances sold in the US – meet a minimum energy efficiency standard. With each revision of the specification the expected efficiency from products wanting to claim they meet the standard rises, and 5.0 is no exception.
The new standard won't go into effect until July 2009, which gives manufacturers some time to prepare. Where the current 80-Plus standard for computer power supplies requires 80 percent efficiency at half their rated output, the new Energy Star standard will require a stonking 85 percent as a bare minimum. Required efficiency at high and low loading has been increased as well, and now the scheme will require 82 percent efficiency at loading of 20 and 100 percent of rated output.
Although some power supplied currently available on the market already meet these standards, many fall short – especially at the cheaper OEM end of the market. Many pre-built systems come with PSUs incapable of much better than 65 percent efficiency, so those manufacturers are really going to have to raise their game if they want to keep sticking those Energy Star symbols on their products.
Do you believe schemes like this will help consumers make informed choices about the energy usage of products they purchase, or is it all about ticking pointless boxes on the product packaging? Share your thoughts over in the forums