EPA Seeking Comments On Final Draft Version 2.0 ENERGY STAR EPS Specification

February 19, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a call for comments on the Final Draft Version 2.0 ENERGY STAR EPS (External Power Supply) specification. The document outlines the proposed new energy-efficiency requirements that EPS models would need to meet in order to earn the ENERGY STAR. It is intended that once final, this document will replace the current Version 1.1 specification.

The EPA has maintained its requirement of testing and qualification at 115 and 230V for EPSs capable of operating at multiple voltages and frequencies. The EPA has made the following key adjustments to the proposed Version 2.0 energy-efficiency criteria: a definition and separate Active Mode requirements for low voltage EPS models in recognition of design constraints that limit the efficiency of low voltage, high current products; adjusted the Active Mode equations for EPS models at or below 49W output power to ensure more consistent qualification rates across various wattage ranges; revised the higher wattage EPS threshold for Active Mode calculations from 36 to 49W. As such, Active Mode efficiency is based on three equations that relate to output power and cover 0 to less than or equal to 1W, greater than 1W to less than or equal to 49W; and greater than 49W; and changed the power factor requirement to apply to power supplies where input power is 100W or greater (and included a second power factor option for review and comment).

While the EPA was reviewing stakeholder comments on the Draft 1 specification, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was signed into law with new federal mandatory standards for EPSs to take effect on July 1, 2008. As such, some stakeholders suggested that an ENERGY STAR Version 2.0 specification was not needed while others encouraged EPA to align ENERGY STAR requirements with these new standards. Based on the performance of currently available EPSs, the EPA concluded that sufficient differentiation remains among products such that an ENERGY STAR level more stringent than the pending standard could be established, offering a cost effective, more efficient alternative. Thus, the EPA has proposed new efficiency levels in its Final Draft specification where 25% of the units in EPA’s dataset would qualify as ENERGY STAR, taking into account the proposed Active Mode and No-Load Mode requirements.

The EPA was encouraged by some stakeholders to postpone the effective date for the Version 2.0 specification to allow more transition time for products such as telephony, whose ENERGY STAR specifications reference the EPS specification. Because the EPS federal mandatory standard that goes into effect on July 1, 2008 is more stringent than the current ENERGY STAR specification for EPSs, it is important, in order for ENERGY STAR to remain relevant in the market, for the new specification to go into effect as soon after that date as possible. Accordingly, the EPA has proposed to extend the date until November 1, 2008, which allows approximately nine months transition.