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The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides acquisition guidance for imaging equipment, a product category covered by ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements.
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 December 2022.
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 $131 or More by Buying ENERGY STAR
FEMP has calculated that the required ENERGY STAR-certified imaging equipment saves money if priced no more than $131 (in 2021 dollars) above the less efficient model. The best available model saves up to $134. 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
|Annual Energy Use (kWh)
|Annual Energy Cost
|Lifetime Energy Cost
|Lifetime Cost Savings
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 25 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 8.6¢/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 Annual Supplement to NIST Handbook 135 and NBS Special Publication 709, Energy Price Indices and Discount Factors for Life Cycle Cost Analysis – 2022 (NISTIR 85-3273-37 update 1).
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 2022 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 2022 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.
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.
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.
FAR Contract Language
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.
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.
Federal Supply Sources and Product Codes
The federal supply sources for energy-efficient products are the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provide programs that help federal agencies buy products with positive environmental attributes.
Identification codes for product categories covered by sustainable acquisition requirements are provided by DLA and the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC).
Under the Multiple Award Schedule program, GSA issues long-term governmentwide contracts that provide access to commercial products, services, and solutions at pre-negotiated pricing.
DLA offers products through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and online through FedMall (formerly DOD EMALL).
- Visit FedMall.
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.
USDA's BioPreferred Program was created to increase the purchase and use of biobased products. Federal law, the FAR, and Presidential Executive Orders direct that all federal agencies and their contractors purchase biobased products in categories identified by USDA.
EPA offers several resources for choosing which products to buy. The Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program helps federal government purchasers utilize private sector standards and ecolabels to identify and procure environmentally preferable products and services.
- Learn more about the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program.
- Review federal purchasing specifications, standards, and ecolabels.
- Get an overview of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) and procuring environmentally preferable electronic products.
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.
- Review FEMP's table of product codes for ENERGY STAR and FEMP-designated covered product categories.
Imaging Equipment Schedules and Product Codes
The UNSPSCs and DLA ENACs for imaging equipment are listed in Table 2.
|Table 2. Product Codes for Imaging Equipment
|ENERGY STAR Product Category
|Fax Machines, Inkjet
|Fax Machines, Laser
|Fax Machines, Thermal
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.