Energy efficiency: small steps make a difference
We work to improve the energy-saving features of our hardware product portfolio to help our customers save energy. Use of electronic devices inevitably involve energy consumption. Microsoft is committed to reducing the direct effects caused by the energy use of our products, including battery chargers.
Microsoft devices comply with the EU Ecodesign Directive for Energy-related Products (2009/125/EC) and its implementing regulations when applicable ("Ecodesign Directive"). Our devices comply with the European Commission's Regulation for Standby and Off Mode Power Consumption for Electronic Household and Office Equipment, and U.S. federal and state energy conservation standards when applicable. Microsoft devices meet the US Department of Energy, California, and other regional and country-specific efficiency requirements.
We work to improve energy-saving features throughout our product portfolio, including the use of energy-efficient chargers, to help our customers save energy. Small steps make a big difference. All our devices come with power-saving standby settings. We have also introduced applications, features, and technologies (such as ambient light sensors, efficient Snapdragon™ processors, and OLED or AMOLED displays) to save energy.
All covered products meet the voluntary ENERGY STAR® standard.
Energy consumed by consoles
An important part of our business strategy includes reducing the energy consumed by our game consoles within a generation while maintaining the same level of gaming power. For example, since the launch of Xbox 360 in 2005, our engineering teams have successfully reduced standby power by a factor of 10 to less than three-tenths of a watt, resulting in a 60 percent reduction in energy use. Our development and compliance engineers ensure all our products meet regulatory requirements such as the Ecodesign Directive.
Carrying lessons learned from Xbox 360 forward, we continued our commitment to reduce energy usage through the design of Xbox One, launched in 2013. Xbox One provides eight to 10 times the processing power of Xbox 360. Despite this significant increase, the electrical power required for gaming is 30 percent less than that of its predecessor when it launched in 2005. Power needed for media play and dashboard is half that of the Xbox 360 at launch. The increase in efficiency results from scalable processor architecture that wasn’t available for the Xbox 360. Other efficiencies are gained by providing the user with choices about console functionality while in standby mode.
Improving energy efficiency
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The European Commission has identified video game consoles, a “priority product group” to be covered either by regulation or a self-regulatory initiative to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We worked with other console manufacturers to develop responsible requirements to achieve that goal. The agreement is called the Voluntary Agreement for Game Consoles ("Voluntary Agreement"). The resulting initiative is the form of a design specification for Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
This Voluntary Agreement is a joint commitment by the game console manufacturers, which is estimated to deliver collective energy savings in the EU of one TWh per year by 2020. This corresponds to the annual electricity consumption for more than 250,000 households.
Our current products fully meet the requirements in the Voluntary Agreement. In November of 2017, the Voluntary Agreement was reviewed by the Consultation Forum of the EU and found to be meeting its commitments to reduce energy usage, exceeding the original estimate of one TWh per year by five TWh per year.
Our strategy to contain our carbon footprint and improve environmental sustainability extends to the distribution of our products. We have prioritized moving away from air transportation toward more carbon-efficient ocean and rail transportation when possible. In 2014, our Devices Supply Chain became a certified SmartWay® Transport Partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). SmartWay® is a public-private initiative involving the EPA, carriers, logistics companies, and manufacturers. Its purpose is to improve fuel efficiency and environmental performance of supply chains, and accelerating the availability and adoption of advanced fuel-efficient technologies and operational practices. This certification will allow us to continue improving the energy and environmental efficiency of freight operations. In addition, the work we do to lessen the size and weight of our products and increase the efficiency of our packaging enables us to both ship more efficiently and improve the sustainability of our products.
Questions? Ask the environmental compliance team (firstname.lastname@example.org)