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Intel Supports California’s Historic Energy Efficiency Standards for Computers

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By Shahid A. Sheikh, Director Global Product Energy Policy and Regulations

On December 14, 2016 the California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted the historic Computers and Monitors energy efficiency standard by a unanimous vote. In what proved to be challenging and lengthy negotiations between the CEC and industry over 4 years, the final standard that was issued, while tough, is achievable. From the start Intel partnered with the tech industry and collaborated with the CEC on the new computers standard.  Intel highlighted this collaboration in the ITI/TechNET press release[1].

“Intel has a proven track record of delivering breakthrough innovations in computing while improving energy efficiency. We would like to extend our thanks to CEC for multi-year collaboration on the new energy efficiency standard,” said Intel’s Anand Srivatsa, General Manager, Desktop Platform Group.” It is a testament of our strong commitment on PC energy efficiency, working with the CEC and the PC ecosystem. This standard will have a positive global impact on the energy efficiency of desktop, All-in-One and mini PCs by delivering a 50% reduction in idle power over the next 5 years.” 

According to CEC estimates[2] the new computers and monitors standards will save California 2,332 GWh/year (equivalent to the electricity use of all homes in San Francisco and San Luis Obispo counties in 2015), save consumers $3.5B on utility bills from 2019-2030, and reduce greenhouse gas by 0.73MMT of CO2 equivalent per year[3].   The lion share of savings will come from computers - about 1,636 GWh/year of electricity demand reduction (~70% of total).  The computers standard applies to Desktop/Integrated Desktops, Notebooks, Workstations, and Small-Scale Servers.

Our years of collaboration started with CEC’s Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR) in 2012. Work started in earnest after the CEC issued its first Staff Report in the spring of 2015. The report highlighted major gaps between Industry and the CEC on the direction of computer standard.  Intel took leadership to engage stakeholders and hosted a 2-day deep dive meeting at its Folsom campus, focusing on computers technical feasibility, cost effectiveness and schedule.  Other meetings followed, and while we made progress, significant gaps remained especially on desktops.  The major breakthrough occurred when we led a comprehensive data collection effort across 30 computer manufacturers. The outcome of this grounds-up effort was a database that ultimately became a key vehicle for engagement with the CEC on the new Desktop/Integrated Desktop targets, allowances, and two-tier implementation schedule. Intel is a strong believer in a data driven, evidence based approach to standards making and policy development.

At the end a good compromise was reached on the computers standard that met California’s energy savings goals and industry’s need for a phased approach to allow smooth PC ecosystem transition.  The CEC regulation is complex and much work remains ahead of us. Intel stands ready to work with industry partners to ensure the PC ecosystem is ready for key implementations starting January 1. 2019.

cec-pix3Intel, industry reps and other stakeholders celebrating the computers standard adoption with CEC Commissioner Andrew McAllister and CEC staff on December 14, 2016

[1] https://www.itic.org/news-events/news-releases/tech-lauds-effort-leading-to-california-s-historic-computer-energy-efficiency-regulation


[2] http://www.energy.ca.gov/releases/2016_releases/2016-12-14_Adopt_Energy_Stds_for_Computr_and_Monitors_NR.html


[3] http://docketpublic.energy.ca.gov/PublicDocuments/16-AAER-02/TN214838_20161216T140449_Computers_and_Computer_Monitors_Adoption_Hearing_Presentation.pdf