PC manufacturers selling to the European market must abide by strict new energy-efficiency rules from next week.
The EU has been thinking up the changes since last summer in a bid to reduce energy consumption across its member states. The "ecodesign" rules will finally come into force from 1 July and will gradually become stricter by 2016 to ensure those affected have time to adapt.
The new legislation will affect any vendor selling desktops, thin clients, workstations, mobile workstations, small-scale servers and computer servers in the EU, but the regulation does not apply to games consoles, docking stations, multi-node servers and blade systems and components.
Under the new rules, vendors selling the applicable products must ensure they adhere to minimum efficiency requirements and will be obliged to make energy-consumption information available to buyers – such as annual power useage and power demand in various states, such as "sleep" and "off" mode.
The European Commission estimates this will save Europeans €2bn (£1.6bn) a year from 2020, but those behind the legislation insist neither IT vendors nor end users will be burdened by the new rules.
"The ecodesign requirements should not have any significant negative impact on the functionality of the product or on consumers... the affordability of the product, the life cycle costs [or] the industry's competitiveness," the new rules state.
"Furthermore, the requirements should not impose on manufacturers proprietary technology or excessive administrative burden, nor should they negatively affect health, safety and the environment."
The rules will be reviewed no later than by the end of 2017 and the EU stressed it wanted to make the transition as easy as possible for vendors.
"The ecodesign requirements should be introduced gradually in order to provide a sufficient time frame for manufacturers to redesign products that are subject to this regulation," it said.
"The timing should be such that negative impacts on the supply of computers are avoided, and costs for manufacturers, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, are taken into account, while ensuring timely achievement of the objectives of this regulation."
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