CBS Newsletter
Winter 1998
pg. 3

Aerial view of Washington D.C.

News From the D.C. Office

Energy-Efficient Office Equipment Around the World...

Energy consumption from office-equipment use continues to grow unabated because of the strong growth in sales of these products in every region of the world. By the year 2001, the global installed base of computers is expected to exceed 500 million units. The energy consumption of imaging equipment will also expand as new, fully networked digital products, which require more energy to operate, proliferate in the market place.

The staff of the D.C. Office is working to support the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to address this challenge. To date, the EPA has recruited hundreds of office-equipment manufacturers from around the world to design, manufacture, and sell products that meet the Energy Star® guidelines for energy efficiency. This was initially a U.S. program, but other countries are now interested in promoting Energy Star products in their own markets as a low-cost way to reduce energy consumption.

Manufacturers have also played a significant role in the spread of Energy Star office equipment abroad. They can benefit from economies of scale by standardizing entire product lines to meet the Energy Star specifications for diverse markets, reducing a wide range of manufacturing and related costs. These cost savings are easily realized, since most models are essentially identical from one market to another.

To foster production efficiencies that let manufacturers meet a single set of specifications for multiple markets and to build on existing worldwide consumer recognition of the Energy Star label, EPA is working on several international office-equipment projects.

International Cooperation

EPA signed a Letter of Intent to coordinate its efforts on the Energy Star Office Equipment Program with the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in 1995. The D.C. Office coordinates many aspects of this informal agreement; for example, staff members work with MITI, which plays a consultative role with EPA by reviewing current specifications and planning new office-equipment product areas for the Energy Star program. Through MITI's contacts with Japanese manufacturers, we gain insights into the potential for new energy saving technologies in the Pacific Rim, while MITI's work in implementing these technologies and fostering greater consumer awareness gives EPA useful information on designing programs that work in other markets.

Energy Star-labeled office equipment is showing up in more places than Japan. Surveys show that market penetration of labeled equipment is quite high in many European countries-as much as 80% for some products. Recognizing the advantages of building on an existing program and working with an internationally known label throughout its 15 member countries, the European Union has proposed to EPA that it, too, join the program. To develop the more formal intergovernmental agreement requested by the EU, the EPA has been working with the D.C. Office to solicit the involvement of other key U.S. government agencies: the Departments of Energy, State, and Commerce, as well as the U.S. Trade Representative's office. The Lab is helping EPA evaluate all the questions that should be addressed as this program expands internationally, and to establish a system for other interested countries to join the program.

Next: Creating Demand for New Technologies

Beyond Energy Star labeling, LBNL Staff are helping EPA with another international effort: creating sufficient market demand to stimulate the introduction of a new generation of advanced energy-efficient photocopiers. This project, part of Annexe III of the International Energy Agency's Demand Side Management Agreement, will involve securing commitments from purchasers of copiers who agree to a common set of specifications. The D.C. Office will help identify large buyers, work with them to define specifications, and coordinate with manufacturers and the other six countries (Finland, Korea, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.) participating in the copier working group to see that these advanced, high-efficiency copiers reach the market and offer superior performance.

—Alison ten Cate, LBNL D.C. Office, and Andrew Fanara, U.S. EPA Energy Star Office Equipment Program Manager

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Alison ten Cate
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
1250 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20024
(202) 484-0880; (202) 484-0888 fax

This work is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency.


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