Starting in 2018, some computers and monitors sold in California will have to meet new energy efficiency standards, thanks to new rules adopted this week. California is the first state in the country to enact standards of this type, and the move could have a wide-ranging impact, even outside of California.
As one of the biggest markets for computers in the United States, it’s likely that PC makers will want to make sure future systems meet California’s standards… which means that even if you live in New York, Ohio, or another country altogether, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find computers that meet California’s standards.
In fact, most laptops already meet the new standards. But big changes could be coming for desktops and displays: according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, only about 14 percent of monitors and less than 10 percent of desktops meet the new rules.
For the most part, the new standards focus on power consumption when a computer is in idle, sleep, or off modes. There are no limits for active performance.
California regulators estimate that the new standards could drive up the prices of desktops and monitors a little bit in the short term, but those price increases would be more than offset by lower electric bills.
The California Energy Commission says an average desktop PC will cost about $10 more under the new rules, but PC owners will save more than $40 in electric costs over 5 years of usage.
New standards for workstations and small-scale servers roll out on January 1st, 2018, followed by new standards for notebooks and some desktops on January 1st, 2019.
The first computer monitor rules go into effect July 1st, 2019.