The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for imaging equipment, 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 imaging equipment are technology neutral, meaning that one technology is not favored over another. However, ENERGY STAR's product specification requirements are limited to copiers, printers, digital duplicators, scanners, fax machines, multifunction (also known as "all-in-one") devices, and mailing machines. Products covered by other ENERGY STAR program requirements and those designed to operate on three-phase power are excluded.

This acquisition guidance was updated in June 2021.

Find Product Efficiency Requirements

Did you know?

The most effective way to save energy and reduce costs in printers and copiers is to print in duplex mode (i.e., print on both sides of the paper). Look for a model with duplex speed at least 80% as fast as one-sided copying.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides imaging equipment 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 imaging equipment.

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 imaging equipment list. In addition to meeting the ENERGY STAR requirements, EPEAT registered products have other environmentally beneficial attributes (e.g., reduction or elimination of hazardous materials and end-of-life management).

Make a Cost-Effective Purchase: Save $120 or More by Buying ENERGY STAR

FEMP has calculated that the required ENERGY STAR-certified imaging equipment saves money if priced no more than $120 (in 2019 dollars) above the less efficient model. The best available model saves up to $169. 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.

Table 1. Lifetime Savings for Efficient Imaging Equipment Models
Performance Best Available ENERGY STAR Less Efficient
Annual Energy Use (kWh) 12 138 286
Annual Energy Cost $1 $12 $25
Lifetime Energy Cost $6 $65 $135
Lifetime Cost Savings $129 $70 ======


View the Performance and Model Assumptions for Table 1

Performance Column

Annual Energy Use: Based on ENERGY STAR's office equipment cost savings calculator and ENERGY STAR values for an electro-photographic color multifunction device with a speed of 20 images per minute or mail pieces per minute, listed in kilowatt-hours. Contact ENERGY STAR for more information about annual and lifetime cost savings available from ENERGY STAR-certified products.

Annual Energy Cost: Calculated based on an assumed electricity price of $0.087/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 6 years, from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's 1995 report, Efficiency Improvements in U.S. Office Equipment: Expected Policy Impacts and Uncertainties (LBL-37383). Future electricity price trends and a 3% discount rate are from Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life-Cycle Cost Analysis – 2020: Annual Supplement to NIST Handbook 135 (NISTIR 85-3273-35).

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 January 2021 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 January 2021 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.

There are additional cost savings associated with saving paper by printing double-sided pages. Furthermore, ENERGY STAR products are designed to limit the use of hazardous substances (e.g., lead, mercury, cadmium).

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.

Requirements to purchase energy-efficient products can sometimes be perceived as in conflict with other acquisition requirements, including Buy American, Small Business, or other set-asides. These requirements are not mutually exclusive. If you run into problems trying to meet multiple procurement requirements, please reach out to FEMP for assistance.

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.

Imaging Equipment Schedules and Product Codes

GSA offers imaging equipment through Schedule 36 (The Office, Imaging and Document Solution) and Schedule 70 (General Purpose Commercial Information Technology Equipment, Software, and Services).

The UNSPSCs and DLA ENACs for imaging equipment are listed in Table 2.

Table 2. Product Codes for Imaging Equipment
Copiers LJ 44101501
Printers, Inkjet LH 43212104
Printers, Laser LH 43212105
Digital Duplicators CZ 44101505
Scanners LH 43211711
Fax Machines, Inkjet LJ 44101507
Fax Machines, Laser LJ 44101508
Fax Machines, Thermal LJ 44101509
Multifunction Devices LH 44101503
Mailing Machines KB 44102101


Buyer Tips: Make Informed Product Purchases

When purchasing imaging equipment, select EPEAT registered products to meet federal purchasing requirements. 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.

The most effective way to save energy and reduce costs in printers and copiers is to print in duplex mode (i.e., print on both sides of the paper). Look for a model with duplex speed at least 80% as fast as one-sided copying. Ask your dealer or compare product reviews provided by independent, ISO-certified sources.

Many products with scanning functions offer duplex scanning. This avoids the extra handling needed to scan a two-sided document. Consider purchasing imaging equipment with this feature.

Multifunction equipment that combines printing, copying, and scanning along with fax capabilities may be an attractive option, especially for small offices and home use where space is limited. However, the fax function often requires that the entire unit remain ready to receive a fax at all times. This may increase power consumption significantly. Many multifunction models with fax capability have higher standby power levels than a fax-only machine. In these situations, dedicated low power fax machines should be considered.

User Tips: Use Products More Efficiently

When used and handled properly, energy-efficient imaging equipment provides years of safe and effective service. Federal users should be aware of the following user tips.

Make sure the power management features are enabled in all imaging equipment at your facility.

Because more energy is used to make paper than to print on it, make sure the duplexing feature is enabled for all imaging equipment with this function. In addition, all computer workstations should be defaulted to print in duplex mode. Inform users about the benefits of reducing paper use by making or printing fewer copies, using email, posting documents on the Web, circulating a single copy, and using a cover sheet only when necessary.

With the exception of devices with a fax-receiving function, manually turn off all imaging equipment at night, on weekends, and on holidays. This saves energy and will not shorten the life of these products.

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