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NEEA and partners successfully transform energy-efficient power supply market

80 PLUS Program sets the standards for efficiency in desktop power supplies

Portland, Ore. – Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), through collaboration with its utility and energy efficiency partners and Ecova, has successfully transformed the market for desktop power supplies. Market share of 80 PLUS-compliant commercial desktop computers has skyrocketed from 0 percent in 2004 to an estimated 70 percent in 2012.

Launched as a pilot in 2004, the program was the first coordinated utility effort in the nation to encourage computer manufacturers to install highly efficient power supplies, which dramatically improves the energy efficiency of commercial desktops. 

The 80 PLUS Program, developed by Ecova in collaboration with NEEA and its utility organizations, also sets the standards for energy-efficient power supplies, meaning it is at least 80 percent efficient in the AC/DC conversion process. The program certifies the power supplies and pays incentives to computer manufacturers for computers that use them to help cover the incremental cost of the better product. On average, 80 PLUS-qualified computer models use 15 percent to 25 percent less electricity than typical commercial desktop computers.

“Through our collaboration with ENERGY STAR, Ecova, and Northwest utilities, we were able to work with some of the largest desktop manufacturers and certify more than 4,600 models of power supplies,” said senior product manager Geoff Wickes, NEEA. “And with the introduction of the new ENERGY STAR Version 6.0, the 80 PLUS Program will continue to improve the efficiency of desktop computers and significantly impact energy savings in the Northwest and across the nation for many years to come.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) credited NEEA and the 80 PLUS Program for having a strong influence on the incorporation of 80 PLUS into the ENERGY STAR 4.0 specification released in 2007, which has directly influenced end-use customers’ decisions to purchase commercial desktop computers with energy-efficient power supplies.

In 2004, when the program launched, it only had one certified power supply and little interest from most major computer manufacturers. Today, more than 200 power supply manufacturers have certified 80 PLUS power supplies, while increased competition among power supply manufacturers has reduced incremental costs. Additionally, 80 PLUS products run cooler, quieter and more reliably.

“Our customers have benefitted from more efficient machines with better power quality for little or no extra cost,” said Scott Gibson, Snohomish PUD principal engineer. “Our work with NEEA has increased the availability and awareness and helped accelerate adoption of energy-efficient desktops.”

NEEA and its partners created an “upstream” energy efficiency program to influence leading North American computer manufacturers such as Dell, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard to join 80 PLUS and help offset the extra cost of making desktop computers, servers and data center applications more energy efficient.

The 80 PLUS Program continues to transform the market for desktops, servers, networking and storage equipment, and related product categories by offering financial incentives to manufacturers of desktop computers, servers and data center applications for every unit containing a certified power supply sold within participating utilities’ service territories.


About the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is an alliance of more than 100 Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations working on behalf of more than 13 million energy consumers. NEEA leverages its strong regional partnerships to effect market transformation by accelerating the adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices. Since 1997, NEEA and its partners – including Avista Utilities, Bonneville Power Administration, Chelan County PUD, Clark Public Utilities, Cowlitz PUD, Eugene Water & Electric Board, Energy Trust of Oregon, Idaho Power, NorthWestern Energy, Pacific Power, Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light, Snohomish County Public Utilities,  and Tacoma Power –have saved enough energy to power more than 600,000 homes each year. Energy efficiency can offset most of our new demand for energy, saving money and keeping the Northwest a healthy and vibrant place to live.


About Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD)
Snohomish County Public Utility District serves one of the fastest growing counties in the Pacific Northwest, delivering electricity to about 325,000 customers and water to about 20,000 customers. It’s currently the second largest public utility in the Pacific Northwest and the 12th largest in the United States. It is committed to addressing regional growth by pursuing all cost-effective conservation and a diverse mix of renewable energy sources.