With so many snow-bound people working from home across Britain right now, and many laptops, notebooks and desktop computers and devices featuring in letters to Santa, this seems like an appropriate time to bring up the energy efficiency of our home computer systems. 

80 percent of UK households own a computer, and UK households are now spending over £800 million a year – 13 percent of household electricity bills – powering computers, printers and other home IT equipment. Our new research shows that, across the UK, over three quarters of us think energy labelling on IT products is important. over two thirds would be attracted to a product range promoting high energy saving performance. 

But at the moment there is no compulsory energy labelling on desktops, displays or laptops to help consumers identify those that are the most energy efficient. Not only does this mean energy efficiency can’t be a factor in purchasing decisions; it also means many of us never even think of it. 

To address this, we are asking retailers to sign a voluntary agreement to commit them to include a selection of the most energy efficient products in their IT ranges, including laptops, desktops, monitors and printers. We’re also asking them to use the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo to highlight to customers which products will save them the most energy for their buck.

 We set up a similar initiative for televisions earlier this year, in conjunction with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Retailers representing over half of the UK TV retail market committed to increase the energy efficiency of their ranges ahead of the minimum TV regulation which will be introduced in July 2012. The retailers participating in the Initiative include Best Buy UK, Comet, Co-operative Electrical, DSGi, Home Retail Group (Argos), John Lewis Partnership, Marks & Spencer, and Sainsbury’s.