Energy star 6.0
We often tend to neglect the fact how much energy our devices use while we look for correctly working technology that fulfills our needs in the most undemanding way possible. Energy is intangible, so it often stays outside our view. But this doesn't make it less important, as it is limiting how long our devices can operate and under what kind of load. Mobile devices have batteries, which can be drained quickly by expensive calculations. Every minute that our software runs has an energy cost. If the battery is almost empty, the use of inefficient software can turn off the device and make all of its functions completely inaccessible, which would be critical in an emergency.
Energy Star is a standard describing energy-efficient devices similarly to the way web standards describe what a valid website is. But for many of us, it is just either a sticker or a short flash during the boot process. If we see the logo with the star, we cannot assume anything about the device efficiency or its energy class since the product requirements are constantly getting more strict in response to our negative environmental impact. Version 6.0 seems to be the latest attempt in this direction.
We may think that a monitor that is a couple of years old and is consuming 42 watt is quite efficient, but some newer Energy Star models with the same screen dimensions require just 26 watt in normal mode, which are said to drop to 13 watt in eco mode without making the screen too dark. This means that a 24 inch monitor can now consume as much as an energy-efficient light bulb. This is three times less compared to the older model, but whether this justifies a new purchase or not depends on our usage scenario.
What is great about such innovation is that it remains completely invisible. It's not a decision factor for the purchase of a new device, but even after the device has left the factory and its components have reached the end of their lifecycle, it can still be improved due to its universal access to electricity. This can be done through a better driver that improves its energy-efficiency. For instance, Lenovo is offering such update for laptops that were released a couple of years ago. When the battery is such an important component, it's important to preserve it functional for as long as possible.
The less visible the innovation is, the more pleasantly surprising it can be for the end user by accidental discovery. This can be a small detail that makes for a memorable experience. After serving the needs of their clients, companies can focus on secondary improvements that address their wants in new and unexpected ways and use this to their advantage in increasing overall loyalty.
With the development of standards like Energy Star and their implementation by manufacturers, we make another step to ensure long device operation, which is very important. By making websites work offline, we have partially reduced the reliance on the network and by drastically lowering the energy consumption of digital devices we have the chance to do the same with electricity and in the process reduce the load on the battery. Of course, as developers we still need tools to inspect at a finer level of granularity how much energy the device actually uses and not just to rely on the numbers with which it is advertised. We need to be able to see the energy impact of our code in order to identify whether our work adheres to the Energy Star philosophy.