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Covered Product Category: Displays

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for displays, a product category covered by the ENERGY STAR program. Federal laws and requirements mandate that agencies buy ENERGY STAR qualified products in all product categories covered by this program and any acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the efficiency criteria for this product category in its ENERGY STAR program requirements. Manufacturers meeting these requirements are allowed to display the ENERGY STAR label on complying models. Visit the ENERGY STAR website for the most up-to-date display efficiency levels and product specification information, and a list of qualified products.

Executive Order 13693 requires that federal agencies promote electronic stewardship by purchasing environmentally sustainable electronic products. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23.7 also requires the purchase of EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) registered products.1 In addition to meeting the ENERGY STAR requirements, EPEAT registered computer monitors have other environmentally beneficial attributes (e.g., reduction or elimination of hazardous materials and end-of-life management). For current requirements and a list of registered products, visit the EPEAT website.


This acquisition guidance and associated ENERGY STAR program requirements apply to computer monitors, digital picture frames, and signage displays. Products covered by other ENERGY STAR program requirements (e.g., televisions) and those with screen sizes greater than 60 inches are excluded.

Computer monitors are covered by EPEAT requirements while digital picture frames and signage displays are not. Federal buyers should purchase computer monitors that are found in both the ENERGY STAR Qualified Product List and EPEAT Registry.

The federal supply sources for displays are the General Services Administration (GSA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells displays through its Multiple Awards Schedules program and online shopping network, GSA Advantage! DLA sells them through its online supply network, DOD EMALL. Products sold through DLA are codified with 13-digit National Stock Numbers (NSN) and, in some cases, a two-letter Environmental Attribute Code (ENAC). When buying computer monitors through DLA sources, look for models with the ENAC "LG" at the end of the NSN.

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a worldwide classification system for eCommerce. It contains over 50,000 commodities, including many used in the federal sector, each having a unique eight-digit, four-level identification code. Using the UNSPSCs will assist buyers with identifying covered product categories and improve record keeping. The UNSPSCs for displays are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Product Codes for Displays
Computer Monitors LG 43211900
Digital Picture Frames == 52161549
Signage Displaysa == 45111812
a In UNSPSC (v16-0901) these products are called "Visual Information Display Devices."



FEMP has calculated that the required ENERGY STAR qualified computer monitor saves money if priced no more than $8 above the less efficient alternative. Note that many of the energy-saving benefits of ENERGY STAR displays are lost if power management features are disabled. An ENERGY STAR qualified computer monitor with the power management features enabled saves $16 over the less efficient model. The cost-effectiveness example and associated assumptions are provided in Table 2.

Performancea ENERGY STAR (with power management enabled) ENERGY STAR (without power management enabled) Less Efficientb (without power management enabled)
Annual Energy Use 24 kWh/year 50 kWh/year 73 kWh/year
Annual Energy Cost $2 $5 $7
Lifetime Energy Cost (4 years) $8 $16 $24
Lifetime Energy Cost Savings $16 $8 ======
a Federal purchases must be of ENERGY STAR qualified products that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR efficiency levels.
b The less efficient column represents low-efficiency displays used in non-federal commercial offices.



An efficient product is cost-effective when the lifetime energy savings (from avoided energy costs over the life of the product, discounted to present value) exceed the additional upfront cost (if any) compared to a less-efficient option. ENERGY STAR considers upfront costs and lifetime energy savings when setting required efficiency levels. Federal purchasers can assume that ENERGY STAR qualified products are life cycle cost-effective; however, users wishing to determine cost-effectiveness for their application may do so using the cost-effectiveness examples or the ENERGY STAR office equipment cost calculators.


ENERGY STAR qualified products may not be life cycle cost-effective in certain low-use applications, or in locations with very low rates for electricity. For most applications, purchasers will find that energy-efficient products have the lowest life cycle cost.

Agencies may claim an exception to these purchasing requirements through a written finding that no ENERGY STAR qualified product is available to meet functional requirements, or that no ENERGY STAR qualified product is life cycle cost-effective for the specific application. Additional information on federal requirements is available.


These requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including project specifications; renovation, repair, maintenance, and energy service contracts; lease agreements; acquisitions made using purchase cards; and solicitations for offers. Energy efficiency requirements should be included in both the evaluation criteria of solicitations and the evaluations of solicitation responses.

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23.206 requires federal agencies to insert the clause at FAR section 52.223-15 into solicitations and contracts that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products. FEMP recommends that agencies incorporate efficiency requirements into both the technical specification and evaluation sections of solicitations.

Note that displays are often acquired through IT service providers. Make sure the contracts with these providers contain appropriate pass-through provisions to require the purchase of ENERGY STAR qualified products for all products acquired for federal use.


When purchasing displays, start by selecting EPEAT registered products for consideration. Computer monitors are covered by EPEAT requirements while digital picture frames and signage displays are not. Federal buyers should purchase computer monitors that are found in both the ENERGY STAR Qualified Product List and EPEAT Registry.

Some utilities offer rebates or other incentives for the purchase of ENERGY STAR qualified products. Use the ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder to see if your local utility offers these incentives.


Manufacturers ship ENERGY STAR qualified products with power management features enabled. Make sure that power management features are not disabled by the installer and are compatible with computers and operating systems in use. The highest energy savings are available when the display consistently operates in the lowest appropriate power mode.

Despite a common belief, screen savers do not save energy. In fact, more often than not, a screen saver will not only draw power, but will also keep any associated computer processors from shutting down. Enabling a display's power management features and turning it off at night not only reduces energy use at the product level, but may also save cooling energy that is otherwise required to remove waste heat generated from the product.

Some displays (e.g., those used to program network servers) are actually in use for only a few hours per year. Leaving these displays off except when needed is a very cost-effective strategy and will not shorten the operating life of the display.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provided supporting analysis for this acquisition guidance.

Updated January 2015

1 All EPEAT registered products meet ENERGY STAR requirements but not all ENERGY STAR qualified products are EPEAT-registered. Federal buyers should purchase products that are found in both the EPEAT registry and the ENERGY STAR qualified displays list.