Energy efficiency standards for computers

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority is proposing minimum energy performance standards and labelling for computers.

This has a certain deja vu, with the proposed maximum flow for shower nozzles in 2008, on the grounds of energy efficiency.

I’m all in favour of energy efficiency labelling. This allows consumers to make informed choices. When I buy a fridge or a washer/dryer, I always look at the labels and they form part of the decision on what model to purchase.

But it is another thing to have the Government regulate a minimum energy efficiency for a type of device.  Consumers pay for their electricity, and they are best placed to decide if the cost of having a less energy efficient device outweighs the benefits.

This proposal is a form of . If agreed to, it would be the Government dictating to consumers what computers they are allowed to buy within NZ. The alternative option of mandatory labelling should be chosen instead. If the Government should not dictate out shower flow speed, neither should they dictate what computers can be purchased.

Having said that, I would point out that the comparison with shower nozzles is only partial. It is quite possible that requiring computers to be more energy efficient will not affect the performance of the computer in any noticeable way. The main impact is probably an extra $20 on the price. While the proposal to limit the pressure in showers, would absolutely and noticeably have affected the performance of the shower.

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