Get ready for the Energy Star 5.0 barrage: Let the testing begin

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star 5.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star 5.0 specification officially goes into effect on July 1, so steel yourselves for a flood of activity proclaiming support for the new standard.

Some of the products you'll hear about, like a bunch of notebooks, desktops and monitors from Lenovo, have actually been shipping for a while, but the vendors will use the kick-off date to remind you about that. Hewlett-Packard, as an example, will claim a first in terms of support for Energy Star 5.0 by its thin clients.

It should be noted, mind you, that the third-party verification testing against these statements technically doesn't even start until July 1. But one imagines these vendors must be fairly confident to declare themselves.

What's different in Energy Star 5.0 vis a vis the Energy Star 4.0 specification?

First off, there were changes to the power supply design requirements. Computers using internal power supplies now must carry an 85 percent minimum efficiency at 50 percent of rated output and 82 percent minimum efficiency at 20 percent and 100 percent of rated output. External power supplies must be Energy Star-qualified in order for the entire computer to be considered. Those performance requirements are listed here.

The new specification also include new levels for typical electricity consumption (known as TEC throughout the spec). Category A desktops, for example, which covers systems that don't have multicare processors, sets this level at 148 kilowatt hours or less. On the notebook side, the level is 40 kilowatt hours or less. Systems must come with certain power management features; on the system side, they must come with a sleep mode features that activates within 30 minutes of user interactivity, for display sleep mode, the threshhold is 15 minutes. Of course there's oodles more, but you can consult the site link above for more details.

This blog by "green PC" manufacturer Very PC out of the United Kingdom puts the Energy Star 5.0 development into more perspective, especially for buyers that need to deal with multinational branches on behalf of their companies.

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