New Energy Star conservation standards for computing equipment will go into effect July 20, but Hewlett-Packard isn’t waiting.

The vendor introduced PCs in March that comply with the stricter standards and also has vowed to reduce its products’ power consumption by 20 percent come 2010. The company says it is packaging print cartridges more efficiently and has introduced Dynamic Smart Cooling technology to reduce energy use in data centers.

To meet its energy-use goals, Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP is encouraging channel partners to sell solutions that reduce power use.

With energy costs continuing to rise, HP believes customers are ready to embrace technology that cuts down their electricity bills.

“There was a time when that question never came up. Nobody cared,” said Carlos Figueroa, sales manager for the HP product line at Delcom, an integrator and HP partner in Plano, Texas.

But that has changed, he said. Customers are feeling the heat of increased power costs in their accounting ledgers—literally. Energy use goes up in data centers with lots of servers that emanate heat and require cranking up air conditioning, so customers have an interest in replacing less-efficient data center equipment, as well as CRT monitors that consume up to 70 percent more power than LCD technology.

An increasing number of customers view efficient equipment as a route to lowering total cost of ownership of technology and getting a quicker return on investment, Figueroa said.

HP has outlined five steps to reduce power consumption, said Jon Carter, a product manager in the vendor’s global business unit. Those steps are as follows:

  1. Choose systems that have processor power management technology, such as Advanced Micro Device’s Cool ‘n’ Quiet or Intel’s Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology;
  2. Use computers such as HP’s dc5000 and dc7000 series with various BIOS power management configuration options;
  3. Use power-efficient processors;
  4. Choose efficient power supplies;
  5. Replace CRT monitors with LCDs.

Processor power management, for instance, regulates the use of energy based on CPU load.

“It’s kind of like power on demand,” said Carter. “When you’re not using the system, it powers itself down and regulates the processor.”

Robin Gigot, channel marketing manager for HP in North America, said the vendor’s efforts in energy conservation present channel partners with a significant opportunity to educate customers on power use.

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To prep partners, Gigot said HP has been sending marketing materials and holding face-to-face discussions with partners to promote energy efficiency.

Figueroa said he hasn’t seen as much activity from other vendors on reducing power consumption as he has from HP. “HP is really the only [vendor] that ever discusses energy efficiency,” he said.