Power Management for Utility-funded Energy Efficiency Programs

Numerous utilities include computer power management (CPM) information and incentives as a component of their commercial energy efficiency (EE) or demand side management programs. To put things in perspective, personal computers & monitors are the largest single source of plug load power consumption in most commercial office buildings, according to one NYSERDA study, and often account for 10–20% of total building power use. CPM typically cuts computer power consumption in half. For basic information about CPM, including how it works, energy savings, solutions for large organizations, and success stories, see the ENERGY STAR CPM page.

Experienced EE program managers consider CPM to be an ideal first step for any commercial IT energy efficiency program, because CPM incentive programs are easy to administer, deliver real savings, and are cost effective. Data center and other IT energy efficiency incentive programs can be more complex and difficult to administer.

ENERGY STAR helps utility-funded energy efficiency programs take advantage of computer power management in a number of ways.

  1. Educating your customers.

    • ENERGY STAR offers a wealth of information about CPM for you to include on your website, in your collateral materials, and in your customer presentations.
      • Example: Members of the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP), including National Grid, Western Mass Electric and Efficiency Vermont, have included information about CPM in their residential bill stuffers.
    • ENERGY STAR can assist you with outreach by participating in educational webinars, seminars, and conferences for your customers.
      • Example: ENERGY STAR representatives participated in seminars on IT energy-efficiency hosted by Snohomish County Public Utility District. They presented the business case for CPM and fielded technical questions from facilities and IT managers. A number of schools, colleges, and other computer-intensive organizations participated and ultimately implemented CPM as a result.
  2. Implementation assistance for your commercial customers.

    • EPA's ENERGY STAR support contractors can provide your commercial customers with free CPM consultations, savings estimates, and software tools. Their one-on-one technical consultations with IT managers have helped hundreds of organizations from across the US determine the best way to: 1) activate CPM settings, 2) ensure that sleeping computers still receive software patches, and 3) troubleshoot problems, should any arise. For more details please contact EPA for tech support.
  3. Information on a variety of utility-funded incentive programs for CPM.

    Below is a table showing some of the utilities offering prescriptive incentives for PC power management. Utilities considering prescriptive rebates should note that:

    • Most utilities only offer incentives on desktop computers;
    • A few provide a list of software vendors;
    • A couple require minimum annual savings per computer;
    • Almost all require a report of the savings with the application;
    Utility/ Weblink Incentive Amount Minimum Average Annual Savings (kWh) per Computer Require Submittal of Energy Savings Report Approved List of Vendors
    Avista $10 per computer 100 Yes No
    Com Ed $12 per desktop computer None Yes Yes
    Idaho Power (PDF, 217KB) $10 per computer None No No
    Manitoba Hydro $15 per license; up to 100% of installed cost None Yes Yes
    Modesto Irrigation District - Water and Power (PDF, 35KB) $10 per computer None Yes No
    Pacific Gas and Electric (PDF, 690KB) $15 per desktop computer (does not allow laptops) None Yes Yes
    Pacific Power (PDF, 88KB) $7 per computer, up to 100% of cost None Yes No
    Riverside Public Utilities $15 per computer (not to exceed cost) None Yes No
    Sacramento Municipal Utility District $10 per license None Yes No
    San Diego Gas and Electric $15 per desktop computer None Yes No
    Silicon Valley Power $15 per desktop computer; up to 80% of project cost 125 Yes No
    Southern California Edison $15 per desktop computer None Yes No
    TID Water and Power $10 per desktop computer None Yes No