color images. These devices also represent a significant energy drain on the company.
The ENERGY STAR requirements for desktop or office printers are somewhat complex because of the many technologies that can be used. Monochrome laser printers, color laser printers, inkjet printers, and many points in between make it difficult to determine the standby power level and when an idle printer should shift to standby mode. In times past, printers printed whatever was sent their way. Now, they may use internal hard drives and extensive RAM arrays; they may also print complex graphics.
ENERGY STAR's goal is efficiency of operation. How efficient a device is depends on its underlying technology. It is up to the purchaser to select the particular technology that fits his or her application. Laser printers use significantly more power and cost less in supplies per printed page than inkjet printers. However, inkjet printers consume less energy while being used and while in idle mode.
Some technologies are more energy intensive than others. Laser printers use around 350 watts of power when printing, whereas a fast inkjet printer may use about 50 watts. A laser printer sitting idle power may still use 50 watts waiting for its next print job, whereas an inkjet printer may consume as little as 5 watts. To ensure that the company is purchasing the most efficient technology available, look for an ENERGY STAR certified logo.
ENERGY STAR certified printers must automatically switch to Sleep mode after 4 hours of idle time. This can only be changed by the manufacturer. However, most are shipped with a much shorter setting that can be modified by the purchaser. Based on the print volume capability of the printer, it is shipped to move to sleep mode within 5 minutes for small printers to one hour for high-speed office printers. This time delay (up to four hours) can be adjusted by the operator.
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