Covered Product Category: ENERGY STAR Displays

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Enabling the power management features on displays substantially reduces energy use and related operating cost.

ENERGY STAR Qualified Products

Updated September 2012

FEMP provides acquisition guidance and Federal efficiency requirements across a variety of product categories, including displays, which are covered by the ENERGY STAR® program. Federal laws and executive orders mandate that agencies meet these efficiency requirements in all procurement and acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.

This acquisition guidance and associated ENERGY STAR product specifications apply to products such as computer monitors, digital picture frames, and professional signage. Products with screen sizes greater than 60 inches and televisions are excluded.

This product category overview covers the following:

Meeting Energy Efficiency Requirements for Displays

Displays and monitors must meet low standby, EPEAT, and ENERGY STAR requirements. When buying computer monitors or televisions, Federal agencies must ensure products are listed in both the EPEAT registry and the ENERGY STAR's qualified product list. When buying professional signage displays, agencies need only check ENERGY STAR's qualified product list. Find more information about Federal Requirements and Acquisition Guidance for Low Standby Power Products.

Table 1. Reference Sources for Determining Product Compliance
Product Category Product Compliance Resources
Use these resources to determine whether a product complies with requirements for Federal purchases
Displays (computer displays)1 EPEAT Registry and ENERGY STAR-Qualified Product List
Displays (professional signage)1 ENERGY STAR-Qualified Product List2

1 The ENERGY STAR product category "Displays" includes computer displays, digital picture frames, and professional signage. Computer displays are covered by EPEAT. Professional signage is not covered by EPEAT.
2 For this category, FEMP has determined that greater than 80% of ENERGY STAR-qualified products meet or exceed a 1-watt standby power requirement.

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Reducing Energy Costs: Save More Than $70 When You Buy ENERGY STAR-Qualified Products

FEMP has calculated that the required ENERGY STAR-qualified display saves money if priced no more than $70 above the less efficient alternative. Note that many of the energy-saving benefits of ENERGY STAR displays are lost if power management features are disabled. In the example below, disabling power management features costs $54 in energy consumption per display over the lifetime of the product. The cost effectiveness example and associated assumptions are provided in table 2.

Table 2. Lifetime Savings for an Efficient Displaya
Performance ENERGY STAR (with power management enabled) ENERGY STAR (without power management enabled) Less Efficientb (without power management enabled)
Annual Energy Use 26 kWh/year 191 kWh/year 244 kWh/year
Annual Energy Cost $2 $17 $22
Lifetime Energy Cost (4 years) $8 $62 $79
Lifetime Energy Cost Savings $71 $17 ======

a Federal purchases must be of ENERGY STAR-qualified products that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR efficiency levels.
b The Less Efficient column represents low-efficiency displays used in non-Federal commercial offices.

Determining When ENERGY STAR Is 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 upfront cost (if any) compared to a less-efficient option. ENERGY STAR considers upfront costs and lifetime energy savings when setting required efficiency levels. Federal purchasers can assume that ENERGY STAR-qualified products are life-cycle cost effective; however, users wishing to determine cost effectiveness for their application may do so using the cost effectiveness examples or the ENERGY STAR office equipment cost calculator.


For most applications, purchasers will find that energy-efficient products have the lowest life-cycle cost. Agencies may claim an exception to these purchasing requirements through a written finding that no ENERGY STAR-qualified product is available to meet functional requirements, or that no ENERGY STAR-qualified product is life-cycle cost effective for the specific application. Additional information on Federal requirements is available.

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Complying with Contracting Requirements

These requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including project specifications; renovation, repair, maintenance, and energy service contracts; lease agreements; acquisitions made using purchase cards; and solicitations for offers. Energy efficiency requirements should be included in both the evaluation criteria of solicitations and the evaluations of solicitation responses.

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23.206 requires Federal agencies to insert the clause at FAR section 52.223-15 into solicitations and contracts that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products. FEMP recommends that agencies incorporate efficiency requirements into both the technical specification and evaluation sections of solicitations.

Note that displays are often acquired through IT service providers. Make sure that such IT service contracts contain appropriate pass-through provisions to require the purchase of ENERGY STAR-qualified products for all products acquired for Federal use.

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Buyer Tips: Choosing Efficient Products

Executive Order 13514 requires that 95% of display products used in Federal facilities are EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) registered. In addition to meeting the ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements, EPEAT registered products have other environmentally beneficial attributes (e.g., reduction or elimination of hazardous materials, end-of-life management, and material selection). Find EPEAT registered displays.

Displays are a product type covered by purchasing requirements for products with low standby power. Currently, ENERGY STAR-qualified displays also meet Federal low standby power requirements, so agencies that purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified displays will also meet the Federal requirements for low standby power. For more information about standby power, including requirements for additional product categories, refer to the Low Standby Product List.

Manufacturers ship ENERGY STAR-qualified products with power management features enabled. Make sure that power management features are not disabled by the supplier or installer. The highest energy savings are available when the display consistently operates in the lowest appropriate power mode.

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User Tips: Using Products More Efficiently

Make sure that power management features have been enabled and are compatible with computers and operating systems in use. It is preferable to shut off displays or have them go into sleep mode automatically. Despite a common belief, screen savers do not save energy. In fact, more often than not, a screen saver will not only draw power, but will also keep any associated computer processors from shutting down. Enabling a display's power management features and turning it off at night not only reduces energy use at the product level, but may also save cooling energy that is otherwise required to remove waste heat generated from the product.

Some displays (e.g., those used to program network servers) are actually in use for only a few hours per year. Leaving these displays off except when needed is a very cost-effective strategy and will not shorten the operating life of the display.

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Finding More Information

The following resources provide additional information about the purchase of efficient products:

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