EU policy on computer energy consumption

EU policy on computer energy consumption includes participation in the Energy Star programme.

I have spent the last two weeks learning about the European Union (EU), and how EU policy is developed. This week I wanted to have a look at some specific EU policy. I decided to see if there was any EU policy on computer energy consumption.

Houses by the rivers, Strasbourg

I started on the Europa Policy Areas page, and went to the Energy section. The overview on the Energy Policy page suggests that EU energy policy primarily focuses on where energy comes from. Energy efficiency is mentioned, but seems to be a smaller area of the overall EU energy policy.

Under the Legislation tab, I found a link about Energy Efficiency, and from there a link to Energy Efficiency of Office Equipment. This took me to a page about the Energy Star programme.

You have probably seen the Energy Star stickers around. From a user’s perspective, Energy Star is a labelling programme. If office equipment meets certain specifications for energy use, they can display the Energy Star label.

I followed the link to the EU Energy Star page for more information. I had a look around, but did not come away with much. The content felt mostly like marketing, with some notable statistics thrown in.

Here are a few facts from the Consumers page and the Statistics page:

  • The annual energy usage for a new home computer and printer can range from 40kWh-400kWh.
  • An energy efficient computer and printer can save 150-200 Euros in electricity costs over its lifetime (5-6 years).
  • Home office equipment accounts for approximately 9% of the average household electricity bill.
  • Office equipment accounts for approximately 11% of electricity usage in the tertiary sector.

I am not quite sure what the tertiary sector is. The statistics are separated into residential, tertiary, and industry. So, I think the tertiary sector means office-based businesses.

I get the impression that there must be more to EU policy on computer energy consumption than the Energy Star programme. I went back to the Europa Energy Efficiency page to see if there were any other links that looked promising, but none stood out. Perhaps it is tucked away in another area of the broader EU energy policy.