Later today, the US-based Energy Star Program will release stringent new guidelines for PC manufacturers which may cut energy consumption up to 60%. 

Not only will the new guidelines help users to save money on electricity costs – especially relevant in South Africa with recent reports that the era of "cheap electricity" will soon be over – bu the programme could equate to taking 2,7-million cars off the road every year.
The new Energy Star requirements cover all notebook and desktop computers, workstations and small servers.
Among the requirements in the new guidelines are for manufacturers to ensure power supplies are 80% efficienct; and to ship computers already set up to "sleep" after 30 minutes of inactivity.
The costs shouldn't be onerous, but consumers will probably have to pay slightly more for their computers.