WASHINGTON - A proposal for efficiency specifications and a test procedure for single voltage external AC/DC power supplies, commonly known as external "power packs," have been unveiled at an electronics conference in Anaheim, Calif. The work builds on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) efforts through the Energy Star program to capture additional energy efficiency and environmental benefits in both active and standby modes across a variety of electronics and office equipment.

External power supplies convert AC power from a wall outlet into lower voltage DC power for use in cordless tools, cell phones, and other products. With more than a billion external power supplies shipped worldwide each year, this offers significant energy savings potential. In the U.S., the total amount of electricity that flows through external and internal power supplies is more than 207 billion kWh/year (worth about $17 billion/year), or about 6 percent of the national electric bill. More efficient designs could save an estimated 15 to 20 percent of that energy.

EPA's unified energy efficiency test procedure, developed in consultation with several international partners, will ensure comparability of efficiency data, lower participation/compliance costs, and other positive benefits to industry participants. Through international coordination, the Energy Star program hopes to expand the market for energy-efficient power supplies.

The draft specification is available for review and comment via the Energy Star Web site at www.energystar.gov/powersupplies.

EPA is coordinating its power supply effort with China, a global exporter of power supplies. Other partners include: National Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Committee, Australia; Eletrobras/Procel, Brazil; Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada; China Certification Center for Energy Conservation Products; and the California Energy Commission.

Publication date: 03/08/2004