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Low Standby Power Product Purchasing Requirements and Compliance Resources

Federal agencies are required to purchase energy-consuming products with a standby power level of 1 watt or less, when compliant models are available on the market. To assist federal buyers in complying with this low standby power product requirement, the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) has identified priority product categories, which include products that consume relatively large amounts of energy and are prevalent in the federal sector.

For all other product categories, buyers should request a statement of standby power consumption from the vendor. If a standby power level of 1 watt or less is not currently available, buyers should purchase a product with the lowest possible standby power in the product category. Find out how standby power is measured.

This guidance was updated in July 2015.

Find Low Standby Power Products in FEMP's Priority Product Categories

The requirement to purchase low standby power products accompanies other laws and requirements related to energy efficiency, including the purchase of Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered and ENERGY STAR-qualified products. For certain products, the purchase of EPEAT-registered or ENERGY STAR-qualified models automatically satisfies the low standby power requirement. However, for other products the requirement is not satisfied due to a variation in product category definitions or the absence of a standby power requirement in the registration or qualification process.

Table 1. Purchasing Priority Products with a Standby Power Level of 1 Watt or Less
Priority Product Categories Desktop, thin client, and workstation computers Integrated computers, notebook computers, computer displays, imaging equipment, and televisions Audio/video equipment, small-scale servers, professional signage, and uninterruptible power supplies
How To Comply Purchase products on FEMP's Low Standby Power Product List. Purchase products that are EPEAT-registered and ENERGY STAR-qualified. Purchase products that are ENERGY STAR-qualified.


Desktop, Thin Client, and Workstation Computers

Purchase products on FEMP's Low Standby Power Product List. The Low Standby Power Product List catalogs products that are ENERGY STAR-qualified and have a standby power less than 1 watt. FEMP updates the Low Standby Power Product List monthly, using ENERGY STAR-qualified product lists. EPEAT requirements for this product category do not include low standby power.

Integrated Computers, Notebook Computers, Computer Displays, Imaging Equipment, and Televisions

Only products that are both EPEAT-registered and ENERGY STAR-qualified satisfy the low standby power requirement in this category. EPEAT's registration requirement for most products includes low standby power or ENERGY STAR qualifications; however, there are some EPEAT-registered products that aren't qualified to the current ENERGY STAR standard.

Audio/Video Equipment, Small-Scale Servers, Professional Signage, and Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified products. FEMP has determined that more than 80% of ENERGY STAR-qualified products in this category meet or exceed the 1 watt standby power requirement. These products are not covered by EPEAT.

Determine When Low Standby Power Products Are Cost-Effective

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 up-front cost (if any) compared to a less efficient option. FEMP considers up-front costs and lifetime energy savings when setting required efficiency levels. Federal purchasers can assume products meeting FEMP-designated efficiency requirements are life cycle cost-effective. In high-use applications or when energy rates are above the federal average, purchasers may save more if they specify products that exceed FEMP's efficiency requirements (e.g., the best available model).

Table 2. Lifetime Savings for Standby Power Consumption of 100 Desktop Computers
Performance Best Available Required Level Base Level
Standby Power Consumption 0.01 W 1 W 1.18 W
Annual Standby Power Consumption 0 kWh/year 600 kWh/year 708 kWh/year
Annual Cost of Standby Power Consumption $0 $54 $64
Lifetime Cost of Standby Power Consumption $0 $200 $236
Lifetime Energy Cost Savings $236 $36 ======
View the Performance Assumptions for Table 2

Standby Power Consumption: Based on the wattage used by 100 desktop computers.

Annual Standby Power Consumption: Assumes 100 desktop computers that spend 6,000 hours/year in standby mode over the course of 4 years.

Annual Cost of Standby Power Consumption: Calculated based on an assumed electricity price of $0.09/kWh, which is the average electricity price at federal facilities in the United States.

Lifetime Cost of Standby Power Consumption: Assumes the computers are operated for 4 years, spend 6,000 hours/year in standby mode (based on IEC 62301:2011), and electricity costs are $0.09/kWh.

Lifetime Energy Cost Savings: The difference between the lifetime energy cost of the base level model and the lifetime energy cost of the required model or best available model. Assumes that the low standby power computer is available for the same price as a high standby power computer. Federal agencies will find that this is often the case.


To adjust the cost of standby power consumption in Table 2, multiply the typical lifetime energy cost savings shown above by this ratio:

(Your price in $0.00/kWh) ÷ ($0.09/kWh)

To adjust the hours a device is consuming power at the standby power level, multiply the typical lifetime energy cost savings shown above by this ratio:

(Your hours) ÷ (6,000 hours)

Incorporate Federal Acquisition Regulation Language in Contracts

These mandatory requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including construction guide and project specifications; renovation, repair, energy service, and operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts; lease agreements; acquisitions made using purchase cards; and solicitations for offers. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23.206 requires agencies to insert the clause at FAR section 52.223-15 into contracts and solicitations that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products for use in federal government facilities. To comply with FAR requirements, FEMP recommends that agencies incorporate efficiency requirements into both the technical specification and evaluation sections of solicitations.