Some new standards are out to to keep electronics running when the power flickers out. They are the first ever energy efficiency standards by the US Department of Energy that the administration says will not just collectively save billions but also cut down on energy use and emissions.
The standards specifically apply to so-called uninterruptible power supplies, or batteries that are used to back up business processes when the electricity goes out.
The Energy Department’s “analysis shows a variety of technology options that manufacturers can use to improve the efficiency of their products, including more efficient semiconductor materials and electronic components, digital signal processing, variable speed fans, and transformer-less uninterruptible power supplies,” says Pierre Delforge, in a blog for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Energy Department’s standard projects that 87 billion kilowatt-hours will be saved over the next three decades. That means a savings of $3 billion on electric bills, says the blog. That is 15% less electricity. “Of equal importance, the reduced energy consumption will avoid 49 million metric tons of cumulative climate-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution being pumped into the atmosphere during that time period.”
Referencing the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the standard is the equivalent of taking 10.3 million cars off the road, the blogger notes.
The guidelines will go into effect three years after being published in the Federal Register, which should happen in about 45 days, the blog says. It says the initiative is a bipartisan effort and first started with President George W. Bush in 2007 — something that directed the Energy Department to develop efficiency standards for battery charger systems.
Delforge emphasizes, though, that the agency does not prescribe how manufacturers are to make their products more efficient. They are to be performance-based standards, which give businesses the flexibility to innovate.