Dell Goes Green With Energy Star 5.0 Push

Dell today announced that 21 of its OptiPlex, Precision, and Latitude commercial client computers have qualified for Energy Star 5.0-compliant certification, the highest level of energy efficiency in a PC.

The company also launched a Web page called the Client Energy Savings Calculator, which allows customers to tweak the components in their build-to-order systems for maximum energy savings.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set up the Energy Star program in 1992 to encourage greater energy efficiency for electronic devices. Over the years, the process has expanded from household appliances to computers and even whole buildings.

Most recently, the EPA launched an Energy Star program for servers. Dell has already announced its R610 and R710 servers meet the requirements for servers.

Getting their shiny gold 5.0 stars are the Dell Latitude 2100, E4200, E4300, E5400, E5500, E6400, E6400 ATG, XT2 and E6400 XFR, Dell Precision M2400, M4400, T3500, T5500, T7500, R5400, Dell OptiPlex 760, 960, 360, 160 and FX160.

Dell claims that the OptiPlex 960 consumes up to 43 percent less power than the previous generation of OptiPlex desktops, comes in packaging that is up to 89 percent recyclable and contains at least 10 percent post-consumer recycled plastic on the small form factor model.

This kind of energy efficiency story is making the company’s products more appealing to customers, said Jay Taylor, energy efficiency strategist at Dell. “More customers today say they want it than before and there will be more tomorrow as people watch energy costs go up. It’s just like it did with appliances,” he told

Taylor is the Energy Star 5.0 working group chairman and Dell had some idea of what was coming to make the 5.0 cut. But it was still meant to be a hard level to surpass, Taylor said.

“They are very tough. Are they reasonable? You can be tough and reasonable. We have a range of configurations but not all of them meet the requirements, but it wasn’t meant to include everything,” he said. Only 25 percent of PCs could qualify for 5.0 compliance.

The changes from 4.0 to 5.0 are in three main areas: minimum power supply efficiency was raised from 80 percent to 85 percent; the formulation of criteria changed to get a measure of annualized kilowatt hour power usage based on typical energy consumption metrics; the AC power conversion rises to 87 percent efficiency.

For green-minded customers, Dell offers a new Web page called Client Energy Savings Calculator that allows customers to fiddle with the component configuration of their OptiPlex, Vostro and Latitude systems and determine an ideal setup based on the power draw.

The online tool analyzes configuration options including power supplies, processors, disk drives and storage, memory, graphic adapters and power management. It also allows customers to compare their custom system to other Dell systems to see how they measure up when it comes to power consumption. It only applies to Dell products, though, not third parties.

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