The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for large network 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 large network equipment are technology neutral, meaning that one technology is not favored over another. However, ENERGY STAR's requirements are limited to products that satisfy the definition of qualifying products in ENERGY STAR’s large network equipment specifications.

All other product types are excluded, including but not limited to products that contain greater than four Physical Network Ports that have 40 Gb/s or higher link rate capability; computer servers; blade storage products; storage networking products; security appliances; digital subscriber line access multiplexer/cable modem termination system (DSLAM/CMTS) equipment; network caching devices; and load balancing devices and products that are covered under other ENERGY STAR product specifications.

This acquisition guidance was updated in June 2021.

Find Product Efficiency Requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides large network equipment power supply 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. See a list of ENERGY STAR certified large network equipment.

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 FedMall (formerly 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.

Large Network Equipment Schedules and Product Codes

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

The UNSPSC for WLAN wireless access network equipment and components is 43223108. For network routers the UNSPSC is 43222609. For network switches the UNSPSC is 43222612.

Buyer Tips: Make Informed Product Purchases

When buying large network equipment like routers or switches, it is recommended to buy products that have the right hardware support to make use of power management algorithms for reduced energy consumption. Network products that have built-in sleep modes and the option of powering-down redundant access points can reduce the total energy used by the network equipment.

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.

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