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DOE Moves Toward Energy Conservation Standards for Computer and Battery Backup Systems

Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Energy has tentatively determined that computer and battery backup systems qualify as a covered product under Part A of Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. If the DOE finalizes this determination it would be able to prescribe test procedures and energy conservation standards for these products. Written comments, data and information on the DOE’s tentative determination are due no later than March 31.

The DOE is proposing to define computer and battery backup systems as consumer products whose primary function is to perform logical operations and process data, or equipment whose primary function is to maintain continuity of load power for such products in case of input power failure. Consumer products such as computers, servers and uninterruptible power supplies are considered to fall within this definition.

This definition broadens the scope of coverage for computers beyond that envisioned in the DOE’s July 2013 proposal (which is being withdrawn), but the department believes this is necessary given the increasingly networked environment in which these products operate. For example, the increased use of tablets, smart phones and cloud services has shifted energy use from personal computers like desktop and notebook computers to servers (e.g., more disk storage in servers, less in desktop computers). The DOE believes the revised definition will help to ensure that the covered product remains relevant as technology trends in computer systems advance.

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