U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Small Network Equipment (SNE) Earns ENERGY STAR Certification

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its first ENERGY STAR specification for small network equipment (SNE), the devices that consumers and businesses use to connect to the Internet. Expanding into this new product category is part of the ENERGY STAR program’s overall commitment to help prevent climate change by encouraging superior energy efficiency.

The small network products that most people are familiar with are modems, routers, and devices that combine both of those functions. These boxes with the little blinking lights are the primary way most households and small businesses set up Wi-Fi or hard-wired Internet connections for use by computers, smart phones, game consoles, and media players. The ENERGY STAR label will also be found on optical network devices, cable and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)-integrated access devices, routers, switches and access points. According to Infonetics, a market research firm, nearly 57 million SNE products were shipped in 2013.

Small network equipment tends to be on all the time and use the same amount of energy regardless of whether it is passing traffic or not. The ENERGY STAR specification recognizes equipment that meets rigorous low traffic rate efficiency criteria, so the products use less energy when they are not in use. The standard also provides incentives for the implementation of two energy-saving capabilities, Energy Efficiency Ethernet and External Network Proxy that further enhance product and network system efficiency.

COOL FACTS: Products that meet the new requirements use on average 20% less energy than standard models. If all small network equipment sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $590 million each year and more than 7 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emissions from nearly 730,000 thousand vehicles. 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 2012 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved $24 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to those of 41 million vehicles. From the first ENERGY STAR qualified computer in 1992, the ENERGY STAR label can now be found on products in more than 65 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold over the past 20 years. Over 1.4 million new homes and 20,000 office buildings, schools and hospitals have earned the ENERGY STAR label.