THE ENERGY STAR, EPEAT, and 80Plus are complementary programs designed to improve the quality of computing equipment. Their goal is to reduce costs through reduced energy consumption without reducing performance. These government supported initiatives have transformed the design of computers and how they are used.
ENERGY STAR is a program developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promote the use of efficient technologies to reduce the amount of energy wasted through inefficient design. It encompasses more than 50 areas, ranging from construction to office appliances. An ENERGY STAR certified computer uses between 30 and 75% less power to perform the same work as one that is not ENERGY STAR certified.
80Plus focuses on the design and manufacture of more efficient power supplies (a significant source of wasted energy). Power supplies certified under 80Plus are at least 80% efficient, with a power transfer factor of 0.9. The 80Plus program encourages manufacturers to continually improve efficiency of their products through its multilevel grading approach.
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) provides a comprehensive environmental impact rating for computers. EPEAT, a U.S. government funded program, describes a device's conformance to 23 mandatory and 28 optional criteria, which include energy efficiency, amount of toxic materials in the device, and even the packing materials used to ship it. This allows companies to specify environmentally efficient equipment with the level of compliance that they desire. EPEAT benefits buyers by saving them from technically examining the total environmental impact of a wide range of equipment. EPEAT is the basis for IEEE standard 1680, the "Standard for Environmental Assessment of Personal Computer Products."
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