Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the ENERGY STAR and who are behind it?
  2. What is the Agreement between the US EPA and the European Commission?
  3. What is the difference between standby, sleep mode, deep sleep, etc?
  4. Where are the figures on power consumption based upon?
  5. Eight myths about energy efficient office equipment
  6. How do I register my product or company / organisation with ENERGY STAR?

Q: What is the ENERGY STAR and who are behind it?

A: The ENERGY STAR is a voluntary appliance specific label, identifying to consumers appliances that meet certain standards regarding energy efficiency. It was orginally set up by the US EPA in co-operation with EREN DOE (Department of Energy, US government) in 1992. Thanks to a US Government Decree to specify the ENERGY LABEL for procurement by public authorities the ENERGY STAR achieved the status of a market standard, contributing to a spread in use in other countries like Japan, Australia and Korea. In 2001 the European Union signed an Agreement with US EPA to introduce the ENERGY STAR in Europe as well (only for office equipment), thereby recognizing eachother as Partner in the ENERGY STAR programme. This allows potential partners in the European Union to sign up through the European Commission, who is responsible for the EU ENERGY STAR Programme.


Q: What is the Agreement between the US EPA and the European Commission?

A: The Agreement is an official document that stipulates the mutual recognition of the US EPA on the one side and the European Commission on the other side as Partners in the ENERGY STAR Programme. It also refers to the Guidelines for use of the label and the procedure for revising of ENERGY STAR Criteria for office equipment.


Q: What is the difference between standby, sleep mode, deep sleep, etc?

A: What is meant is that modern day office equipment can enter several stages of lower power consumption when powering down automatically. Whereas in the past some equipment may have been equipped with a simple one-stage 'standby-button' this is no longer the case in modern equipment. Nowadays the processor present in most equipment runs software (power management sofftware) that allows for progressively shutting or slowing down parts of the device after certain periods of inactivity, thus reducing power consumption. It also defines how the device is powered after a certain "wake up" event has occurred.
Standby mode usually refers to the power consumption when the device is not active with producing output but instantly available to do so. Low-power is often also called sleep mode and refers to the power consumption when the device has not been used for some time and allows for a certain wake-up time before normal operating conditions are achieved. Deep sleep is a second stage of sleep mode and in practice differs little from the power consumption in 'off-mode". many devices still use power in (deep) sleep or off-mode because of electricity leakage through connected power supplies or some tiny amount of power needed for networking capabilities (so that the appliance notices a "wake-up" event automatically).


Q: Where are the figures on power consumption based upon?

A: The power consumption during operation and lower power modes are measured according technical standards if available or through standards set up by the awarding authority (US EPA has devised their own standards for measuring power consumption during low power modes of several kinds of equipment). Preferably the standards reflect day-to-day use, but this is not always possible.


Q: Eight myths about energy efficient office equipment

A: Myth 1: When equipment is turned 'on' there is a power surge so large that leaving your equipment 'on' consumes less energy.
Reality 1: If present (which is not always the case) then the duration of this power surge is so small (seconds) that it is comparable to a few seconds in "on' mode. Whenever your equipment is not used for a few minutes, it makes sense to turn it off or (let it) switch to a low power mode.

Myth 2: Screen savers save energy
Reality 2: Not true, screen savers waste energy. They were originally designed to prevent screens from being burnt by a constant image, but they aren't needed for modern screens. Many screen savers also require additional processing adding to the energy use of a system. It is better to set screen savers to 'blank screen' or 'none'.

Myth 3: Frequent turning off computers crashes the harddrive
Reality 3: Switching off computers will have no significant effect on the useful life of a harddisk. Today manufacturers specify some 40,000 power cycles for a harddrive, equivalent to 30 start/stop cycles for each working day over five years.

Myth 4: Turning off or power managing computers and printers causes network problems
Reality 4: Although this certainly was true in the early days of power management and networked equipment, this is nowadays no longer the case. Proper up to date network software and modern day power management software (e.g. ACPI) allow for pc's and other equipment to enter low power modes while still being able to receive signals from the network.

Myth 5: Windows NT and power management can not be combined
Reality 5: In early versions of Windows NT power management could only be achieved through changing the settings in the BIOS software. However version 5 of Windows NT has extensive and more easily enabled power management features.

Myth 6: In winter the heat of the office equipment is useful for heating the building. Power management, reducing energy consumption of equipment, would lead to higher heating costs.
Reality 6: The heat from equipment does contribute to the heating of a building in winter, but it is far more cheaper, efficient and reliable to heat your building with a purpose-built heating system. Furthermore power management also reduces the heat from equipment during the summer, thereby reducing cooling costs as well.

Myth 7: Using recycled paper increases the number of paper jams in copiers and printers, thus increasing paper use in offices.
Reality 7: Although many of us had these experiences they are quite avoidable. Make sure when buying new equipment that the manufatcurer and suppliers are prepared to guarantee effective performance in these areas. Some copier manufacturers (like Canon, Fuji Xerox) specify the brand of recycled paper they approve

Myth 8: Refilled toner cartridges leak everywhere and make a incredibel mess
Reality 8: As with recycled paper this problem is avoidable and manufacturers and suppliers should be prepared to guarantee effective performance.


Q: How do I register my product or my company / organisation with ENERGY STAR?

A: Proceed to the following page for more information on How to Join the EU ENERGY STAR Programme