Feds put bite on vampire devices

Computers and wireless phones used by federal agencies can use no more than

1 watt of power in standby mode, according to a recent executive order by

President Bush.

"One of the ways that our nation wastes energy is through what they

call 'vampire devices,'" Bush said. "These will be a battery charger, cell

phone chargers, computer systems that we really think [are] not using energy

when plugged in but, in fact, are.

"And so we've set what we call a 1-watt standard throughout the federal

government, that we expect our agencies to be ridding themselves of the

vampires and using energy- conservation devices."

If such products are not available, federal agencies should buy ones

with the lowest standby power wattage, according to the order. Agencies

must adhere to the requirements, the president directed, as long as the

product's "utility and performance are not compromised as a result."

By the end of the year, the Energy Department, working with the Defense

Department and the General Services Administration, will have a preliminary

list of products subject to the new requirements. DOE will finalize the

list and may remove products deemed inappropriate for listing, according

to the executive order.

The Consumer Electronics Association and the Electronic Industries Alliance

applauded the presidential order, according to a joint statement from Gary

Shapiro, president and chief executive officer of CEA, and Dave McCurdy,

EIA president.

They said they are encouraged that the executive order "allows the marketplace

to dictate the appropriate standards for standby power so manufacturers

may continue to find ways to improve the energy efficiency of our products....

"By giving procurement officers the flexibility to purchase energy- efficient

products that don't compromise features and functionality, the president

has shown it is possible to promote conservation while preserving the right

of manufacturers to design and market products that meet consumer demand."

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