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Screen savers do not save energy. To save energy, enable your monitor's power management feature and turn the display completely off at night.

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for displays and monitors, a product category covered by ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements. Federal laws and requirements mandate that agencies purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified products or FEMP-designated products in all product categories covered by these programs and in any acquisition actions that are not specifically exempted by law.

FEMP's acquisition guidance and associated ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements for displays and monitors are technology neutral, meaning that one technology is not favored over another. However, ENERGY STAR's product specification requirements are limited to computer monitors, digital picture frames, and signage displays. Products covered by other ENERGY STAR program requirements (e.g., televisions) and those with screen sizes greater than 60 inches are excluded.

This acquisition guidance was updated in December 2018.

Find Product Efficiency Requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides display efficiency levels and product specification information on its ENERGY STAR website. Manufacturers meeting these requirements are allowed to display the ENERGY STAR label on complying models. Get a list of ENERGY STAR-certified displays. As of December 2018, the version 8.0 ENERGY STAR product specification for displays was not published. Please check ENERGY STAR’s monitors and displays web page for updates on the version 8.0 specification.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23.7 requires the purchase of EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) registered products. All EPEAT-registered products meet ENERGY STAR requirements, but not all ENERGY STAR-qualified products are EPEAT-registered. Federal buyers should purchase products that are found in both the EPEAT registry and the ENERGY STAR-certified displays list. In addition to meeting ENERGY STAR requirements, EPEAT registered products have other environmentally beneficial attributes (e.g., reduction or elimination of hazardous materials and end-of-life management).

Computer monitors and signage displays are covered by EPEAT requirements; digital picture frames are not. Federal buyers should purchase computer monitors that are found in both the ENERGY STAR-Qualified Product List and EPEAT Registry.

Make a Cost-Effective Purchase: Save $4 or More by Buying ENERGY STAR

FEMP has calculated that the required ENERGY STAR-qualified monitor saves money if priced no more than $4 (in 2017 dollars) above the less efficient model. The best available model saves up to $8. Table 1 compares three types of product purchases and calculates the lifetime cost savings of purchasing efficient models. Federal purchasers can assume products that meet ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements are life cycle cost-effective.

PerformanceBest AvailableENERGY STARLess Efficient
Annual Energy Use (kWh)385164
Annual Energy Cost$3$4$6
Lifetime Energy Cost$13$17$21
Lifetime Cost Savings$8$4======
View the Performance and Model Assumptions for Table 1

Performance Column

Annual Energy Use: Based on ENERGY STAR values and typical reported values for a 23-inch monitor with 2.1 megapixel resolution (the most common resolution in the ENERGY STAR database), listed in kilowatt-hours. Typical reported values are from Xergy Consulting's June 2016 report, Determining a Real-World Adjustment Factor for Computer Energy Use: Laboratory Testing the Impact of Real-World Idle, Active Mode and Peripherals (Docket #14-AAER-2), and ENERGY STAR's office equipment cost savings calculator.

Annual Energy Cost: Calculated based on an assumed electricity price of $0.086/kWh, which is the average electricity price at federal facilities throughout the United States. Learn more about Federal Government Energy/Water Use and Emissions.

Lifetime Energy Cost: Calculated as the sum of the discounted value of the annual energy cost over the assumed product life of 4 years. Future electricity price trends and a 3% discount rate are from Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life-Cycle Cost Analysis - 2018: Annual Supplement to NIST Handbook 135 and NBS Special Publication 709 (NISTIR 85-3273-33).

Lifetime Cost Savings: The difference between the lifetime energy cost of the less efficient model and the lifetime energy cost of the ENERGY STAR model or best available model.

Best Available Model Column

Calculated based on the December 2018 ENERGY STAR List of Qualified Products; values shown are rounded to the nearest dollar. More efficient models may be introduced to the market after FEMP's acquisition guidance is posted.

Energy Star Model Column

Calculated based on December 2018 ENERGY STAR efficiency levels; values shown are rounded to the nearest dollar. Federal agencies must purchase products that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR efficiency levels.

Less Efficient Model Column

Calculated based on typical products used in non-federal applications.

Determine When ENERGY STAR Products Are Cost-Effective

An efficient product is cost-effective when the lifetime energy savings (from avoided energy costs over the life of the product, discounted to present value) exceed the additional up-front cost (if any) compared to a less efficient option. ENERGY STAR considers up-front costs and lifetime energy savings when setting required efficiency levels. Federal purchasers can assume ENERGY STAR-qualified products and products that meet FEMP-designated efficiency requirements are life cycle cost-effective. In high-use applications or when energy rates are above the federal average, purchasers may save more if they specify products that exceed federal efficiency requirements (e.g., the best available model).

Contact ENERGY STAR for more information about annual and lifetime cost savings available from ENERGY STAR-certified products.

Claim an Exception to Federal Purchasing Requirements

Products meeting ENERGY STAR or FEMP-designated efficiency requirements may not be life cycle cost-effective in certain low-use applications or in locations with very low rates for electricity or natural gas. However, for most applications, purchasers will find that energy-efficient products have the lowest life cycle cost.

Agencies may claim an exception to federal purchasing requirements through a written finding that no FEMP-designated or ENERGY STAR-qualified product is available to meet functional requirements, or that no such product is life cycle cost-effective for the specific application. Learn more about federal product purchasing requirements.

Incorporate Federal Acquisition Regulation Language in Contracts

These mandatory requirements apply to all forms of procurement, including construction guide and project specifications; renovation, repair, energy service, and operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts; lease agreements; acquisitions made using purchase cards; and solicitations for offers. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23.206 requires agencies to insert the clause at FAR section 52.223-15 into contracts and solicitations that deliver, acquire, furnish, or specify energy-consuming products for use in federal government facilities. To comply with FAR requirements, FEMP recommends that agencies incorporate efficiency requirements into technical specifications, the evaluation criteria of solicitations, and the evaluations of solicitation responses.

Find Federal Supply Sources

The federal supply sources for energy-efficient products are the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). GSA sells products through its Multiple Awards Schedules program and online shopping network, GSA Advantage!. DLA offers products through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and online through DOD EMALL. Products sold through DLA are codified with a 13-digit National Stock Number (NSN) and, in some cases, a two-letter Environmental Attribute Code (ENAC). The ENAC identifies items that have positive environmental characteristics and meet standards set by an approved third party, such as FEMP and ENERGY STAR.

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a worldwide classification system for e-commerce. It contains more than 50,000 commodities, including many used in the federal sector, each with a unique eight-digit, four-level identification code. Manufacturers and vendors are beginning to adopt the UNSPSC classification convention and electronic procurement systems are beginning to include UNSPSC tracking in their software packages. UNSPSCs can help the federal acquisition community identify product categories covered by sustainable acquisition requirements, track purchases of products within those categories, and report on progress toward meeting sustainable acquisition goals. FEMP has developed a table of ENERGY STAR and FEMP-designated covered product categories and related UNSPSC numbers.

Display Schedules and Product Codes

GSA offers displays and monitors through Schedule 70 (General Purpose Commercial Information Technology Equipment, Software, and Services).

The DLA ENAC for displays is "LG".

The UNSPSCs for displays and monitors are shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Product Codes for Displays and Monitors
Display TypeUNSPSC
Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT) Monitors43211901
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Panels or Monitors43211902
Plasma Display Panels (PDP)43211904
Visual Information Display Device45111812
Digital Picture Frames52161549


Buyer Tips: Make Informed Product Purchases

When purchasing monitors, start by selecting EPEAT registered products for consideration. Computer monitors are covered by EPEAT requirements while digital picture frames and signage displays are not. Federal buyers should purchase computer monitors that are found in both the ENERGY STAR-Qualified Product List and EPEAT Registry.

Some utilities offer rebates or other incentives for the purchase of ENERGY STAR-qualified products. Use the ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder to see if your local utility offers these incentives.

User Tips: Use Products More Efficiently

Manufacturers ship ENERGY STAR-qualified products with power management features enabled. Make sure that power management features are not disabled by the installer and are compatible with computers and operating systems in use. The highest energy savings are available when the display consistently operates in the lowest appropriate power mode.

Despite a common belief, screen savers do not save energy. In fact, more often than not, a screen saver will not only draw power, but will also keep any associated computer processors from shutting down. Enabling a display's power management features and turning it off at night not only reduces energy use at the product level, but may also save cooling energy that is otherwise required to remove waste heat generated from the product.

Some displays (e.g., those used to program network servers) are actually in use for only a few hours per year. Leaving these displays off except when needed is a very cost-effective strategy and will not shorten the operating life of the display.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provided supporting analysis for this acquisition guidance.