Computer and computer systems is a broad category that includes laptop computers, desktop computers, computer monitors, and small scale servers.
Although there are no national standards for computers, DOE did initiate a rulemaking, issuing a request for information in 2012 and a proposed determination of coverage in February 2014. The California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted standards for these products in December 2016. The standards apply to high expandability desktops, mobile workstations, small scale servers, and workstation computers manufactured on or after January 1, 2018 and all other covered computer types manufactured on and after January 1, 2019, with higher efficiency requirements for desktops, integrated desktops, thin clients, and gaming notebooks for products manufactured on or after July 1, 2021. Based on CEC’s estimates for California, if manufacturers sold only compliant computers and monitors across the U.S. nationally, savings would reach up to 20,000 gigawatt hours of electricity annually by 2027, or enough to supply 1.6 million U.S. homes.
DOE has calculated that the average annual energy use for a desktop computer is 220 kilowatt hours (kWh) and 62 kWh for a portable computer. The most recent DOE Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS 2015) estimated that there is at least one desktop computer in 42% of U.S. homes and at least one laptop computer in 64% of U.S. homes. All of the desktops should be and some of the laptops may be attached to computer monitors.