May 7, 2007

Xerox refines product line to meet tougher Energy Star criteria

Two years of work by Xerox scientists and engineers have enabled the company to report that more than half of its office and imaging products now meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new Energy Star(r) criteria that came into effect on April 1. The company says its products earning the new Energy Star certification are on average 30% more efficient than those products that met the old criteria.

The previous Energy Star criteria for office copiers, printers and multifunction systems measured power consumed in standby and low-power modes. The new standard reflects a different approach, based on the typical weekly energy consumption of a given piece of equipment. It measures the energy consumed during the operation of a normal office, running a sample job mix with downtime for lunch, overnight and on weekends. The result is a Typical Electricity Consumption (TEC) figure that must meet the EPA's tough new criteria in order for a product to qualify for Energy Star status.

"The EPA's new Energy Star requirements raise the bar so significantly that only 25% of products in the marketplace were expected to meet the new criteria," said Patricia Calkins, Xerox vice president for environment, health and safety. "At Xerox, we knew we could do better than the industry average, and we did with more than 50% of our current product line passing this tough test," she continued, adding, "Over time, the standards will get even tougher. We'll remain focused on improving our entire product line to meet these evolving requirements. And, we expect to qualify more products over time."

In seeking to improve the energy efficiency of its products, Xerox scientists and engineers focused on the fuser, the toner and the electronic controls.

Improvements to the fuser rolls in office products such as printers, copiers, and multifunction systems enables them to warm up from low-energy-use standby, or "sleep," mode faster. The development of toners with lower melting points has meant less energy consumption in the fuser and has allowed fusing temperatures to be lowered by about 10% percent in some products.

In more products, the company is using toner made using its patented emulsion aggregation process, a manufacturing method that requires less energy. The toner itself consumes less energy when used to create a print because its colour quality and regular particle size mean that less toner than conventional toner is needed to create an image, so there's less thermal mass to heat, says the company.

Other innovations include redesign of the control electronics in the devices to take advantage of next-generation processors and save energy.

As part of its commitment to the environment, Xerox also announced that it is contributing $1 million to The Nature Conservancy to develop science-based tools and systems that will help the paper industry better manage ecologically important forest land. The funding focuses on the Canadian boreal forest as well as the forests of the southern United States, Indonesia and Brazil's Atlantic forest.

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