Proposed new energy savings legislation for computers across the EU has been strengthened by a show of hands among national experts from each member state in a behind closed doors vote last week (7 March).

Energy consumption goals beginning in 2014 will now be between 10-20% higher than originally proposed, while graphic cards will be reduced by 10%.

“We welcome some of the Member States’ decisions to tighten the limits on the energy consumption of computers and graphic cards, but again ignoring other environmental impacts such as resources use and hazardous content is a big disappointment,” said Stephane Arditi from the Coolproducts coalition, which is active on the issue.

“There’s still a lot more that can be done to truly green the IT sector,” he added.

Coolproducts argues that the new legislation risks providing free bonuses for the use of powerful graphic adders.

Evidence that ‘sleep mode’ functionalities on the market can already perform better than the EU’s proposed standards was ignored, the group says.

The legislation is expected to have potentially far-reaching consequences for computer manufacturers but none have reacted publicly. EurActiv contacted over 15 computer companies and associations for comment, but all declined.

Other key issues in the sector such as the increased recyclability, durability and repairability of computers – as well as limits to the use of toxic substances – remain to be addressed by EU legislation.  

The next opportunity for a review of such matters will come in 2017.  

For now, the legislation will be sent to the European Parliament for a three month scrutiny period, after which it will become law.