SEAD Analyzes Cost-Effective Energy Efficiency Improvements for Personal Computer Monitors

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The total global electricity consumption of personal computers (PC) and monitor stocks in the residential sector, including notebook computers, was about 140 TWh in 2008.  Monitors, also called displays, accounted for 30-40 TWh of this number, and generally account for 15-35% of energy consumption in a PC system. The wide range of this estimate derives from the fact that average unit energy consumption of a PC varies highly with the system specifications and power management scheme.

This report from the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) Initiative identifies, analyzes, and evaluates the cost-effectiveness of various energy efficiency improvement options for personal computer monitors. Additionally, it assesses the potential for further improvement options that can reduce PC energy consumption by as much as 50%.   

Key findings from the analysis are as follows:

  • PC monitor efficiency will likely improve over 40% by 2015 without any additional policy intervention. This will result in an energy-saving potential of 4.5 TWh per year in 2015 compared to today’s technology.
  • Among the three different energy efficiency improvement options assessed in the report, at least one cost-effectively improves energy efficiency by at least 20% beyond the ongoing market trends.
  • Recent technological developments in universal serial bus powered liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors also have the potential to deeply and cost-effectively reduce energy consumption by as much as 50%.

According to SEAD’s analysis, market transformation programs need to take into account rapid technological developments and determine more stringent efficiency targets than those currently in place. 

  • A significant decrease in on-mode energy consumption (about 25% from 2011 to 2015) for newly-sold PC monitors is likely due to the large-scale transition toward LED-LCD monitors and rapid efficiency improvement.
  • PC monitor consumption can be cost-effectively reduced further beyond these improvements. If in every year the efficient designs reach 100% of the product groups analyzed in the study (about 90% of the whole market), the total energy savings potential would be about 4.1 to 9.2 TWh per year in 2015 – up to 55.1 TWh during their lifetime.

This analysis was prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in support of the SEAD Initiative.


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