Hardware manufacturers such as Dell, Lenovo and HP must ensure new laptops and other devices adhere to new energy-efficiency guidelines when legislation comes into force across Europe on 1 July.
The ‘ecodesign’ requirements were approved in June 2013, with a deadline of 1 July 2014 for the first stage to come into effect. The legislation covers numerous aspects of devices' power usage, including how much energy is used in sleep mode, idle state, off and lowest power state.
The legislation covers a wide range of devices such as desktops, thin clients, workstations and small-scale servers. Games consoles, blade systems, multi-node servers and docking stations are exempt.
In the text for the new legislation the European Commission (EC) said it was confident the new rules would not impinge on hardware manufacturers or affect device performance.
“The ecodesign requirements should not have any significant negative impact on the functionality of the product or on consumers, and in particular as regards the affordability of the product, the lifecycle costs and the industry’s competitiveness,” it said.
“Furthermore, the requirements should not impose on manufacturers' proprietary technology or excessive administrative burden, nor should they negatively affect health, safety and the environment.”
The push for the new legislation was backed by a consortium of companies last year called Coolproducts, made up of groups such as Friends of the Earth and the European Environmental Bureau.
Stamatis Sivitos, a spokesman for the group, said Coolproducts was pleased the new rules were coming into force. "Product by product, the rewards add up to massive benefits in fuel bill savings, energy independence and greater climate stability," he said.
It is estimated that the new rules will lead to energy savings of at least 12.5 terawatt hours annually by 2020. This is equivalent to the output of 16 medium-sized coal power plants, or the CO2 equivalent emitted from 2.5 million cars, Coolproducts said.
Some hardware makers say they are well prepared for the new rules.
A spokesperson for HP told V3, "HP is an advocate for sustainable and energy-efficient approaches to technology. We have therefore been aware of this regulation from its early stages. Since the EU’s Directorate-General for Energy began work on the guidelines, HP has made the appropriate steps to ensure that all HP products that fall under this legislation, and are available on the European market, will already comply."
However, it is unclear if other hardware manufacturers are ready for the new legislation. V3 also contacted Dell and Lenovo for comment on the new laws but has yet to receive a reply.
Despite welcoming the new rules on energy usage, the Coolproducts consortium said it was disappointed the EU did not push for greater rules around the lifecycle of tech products.
“Coolproducts feels this was a missed opportunity to take into consideration lifecycle costs; the use of plastics and recycling (as well as the use of recycled plastics); aspects of repair and disassembly that could also include the requirement to provide extended warranty services,” wrote spokesman Alun Jones in a blog.
“The regulation will be reviewed and possibly revised in the years to come. We hope that when it is, these points will be seriously considered.”
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