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Energy Star electronics ratings get corporate boost

The EPA's Energy Star program and the industry-backed Climate Savers program are teaming up to promote and develop more efficient PCs, servers, and power supplies.

The government's Energy Star program and the tech industry's Climate Savers Computing Initiative will work over the next three years to develop more-efficient standards for consumer electronics.

"Today's partnership announcement unites Energy Star and industry in an effort to rally the technology industry to reduce computer energy consumption and fight climate change," said Bob Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, in a press release.

Energy Star, launched in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency, is considered the first "green" U.S. consumer label for electronics and household appliances.

The Climate Savers collection of businesses and environmental nonprofits aims to halve the power consumption of computers by 2010. Leading members include Google, Microsoft, Pacific Gas & Electric, and the World Wildlife Fund. The group of some 180 enterprises also includes Starbucks.

From now on, Climate Savers will recommend that businesses and consumers follow Energy Star specifications--or even tougher--when buying computers, in addition to using power management tools. The two partners will also pool some marketing efforts.

The move marks a step toward standardizing various consumer labels related to sustainability.

Along similar lines, the utility-funded 80 Plus label marks power supplies that achieve at least 80 percent efficiency.

Shoppers seeking rankings of sustainably-crafted, power-sipping PCs can also look for the nonprofit-led EPEAT label, which is being adopted this year by online retailers.