CEC Title 20 webinar on computers

On April 3, the California Energy Commission started its Title 20 webinarpalooza “invitation to participate” series that will include nine two-hour separate presentations over six days on each of the appliance standards they are reviewing. The Smart Electronics Initiative will be monitoring the four consumer electronic webinars here to provide a summary on webinars on game consoles, set top boxes and networking equipment on April 4, computers on April 5 and displays on April 8. For anyone interested in learning more, contact us at [email protected].


Friday’s webinar series on computers wrapped up this week’s discussions on improving Title 20 energy efficiency standards. Earlier in the week, the CEC focused on game consoles and set-top boxes/network equipment. You can see the presentation provided at the webinar here.


The webinar was a standards 101 lesson but also dove into specific questions the CEC is asking computer developers, manufacturers or designers to learn more about the future direction of the technology. They are asking for responses by May 9.


Major issues the CEC is driving is to have computers go into sleep or standby mode faster and find other energy-reducing features. The CEC wants to understand the number of computers for residential and commercial use being sold in California along with figuring out which computers use Energy Star or other energy standards.


The following questions were raised in the hearing:
  • Which computers follow Energy Star guidelines?
  • Can the efficiency of mobile computing on smartphones and tablets be applied to desktop computers?
  • How is energy affected when computers are connected to external hardware like wireless network cards and data processors?
  • Amid the wave of compact consumer electronics, are computer sales expected to grow in the next year?


As one of the top three energy users in consumer electronics, computers use 31 terawatts per hour, according to our recent report. Though computers go into sleep/standby mode after some time, the consumer has the choice of a few minutes to a few hours for the computer to go into sleep mode when inactive. One issue brought up in the webinar is the consumer also has the choice to put the entire computer to sleep or just a part of it like the hard drive or network connection.


Also, laptop computers are considered more energy-efficient than desktop computers due to its smaller size, but there’s still a large gap in energy efficiency between the two types of computers. Though desktop sales have been declining for home use in the U.S., our recent report estimated sales will account for nearly 20 percent of personal computer sales in 2013. As some laptop computers get smaller to reduce energy, many might not appeal to the consumer who would need a larger computer for more memory to run certain programs.


Stay tuned for another blog on Monday on the proceedings for displays.

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