U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Slates, Tablets and Other Mobile Computers Now Eligible for ENERGY STAR

On August 12, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency announced an expansion of an existing ENERGY STAR category to include, for the first time, slate and tablet devices, two-in-one computers, and portable all-in-ones. By making the ENERGY STAR label available to these products, EPA recognizes additional highly-efficient computer options and helps consumers reduce energy bills and carbon pollution.

The computer market has transformed significantly since the introduction of the first consumer-facing tablets in 2009 and 2010. Many of the personal and business functions that have long been conducted on desktop and laptop computers are now performed on smaller, more mobile devices. Consumers clearly appreciate the convenience and mobility of these products, but may not realize that these devices also typically consume much less energy than larger computers.

Slates and tablets in particular have been very popular with consumers in recent years and are increasingly used for commercial applications. Two-in-one computers are portable computers that have detachable touchscreens, allowing them to function as both notebooks and slate/tablets.  Portable all-in-ones have a combination of features found in integrated desktops and slate/tablets. They have large screens and are meant primarily for desktop use, coming with a stand or physical mount plus a keyboard. However, they have a touchscreen and a small battery pack, allowing them to be picked up and used as large mobile devices for limited amounts of time.

Federal purchasers are increasingly interested in acquiring slate/tablets and two-in-ones for use by employees. Adding these products to the ENERGY STAR program will facilitate the procurement of these energy-efficient computer products. ENERGY STAR product test data will also provide valuable information for policymakers and third parties that want to better understand the energy efficiency of these products.

To earn the ENERGY STAR label, products must be certified by an EPA-recognized third party, based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory. In addition, manufacturers of the products must participate in verification testing programs run by recognized certification bodies.

Products, homes and buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. In 2013 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved an estimated $30 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use of more than 38 million homes. From the first ENERGY STAR qualified computer in 1992, the label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.8 billion products sold. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 commercial buildings and industrial plants have earned the ENERGY STAR label.