TV energy efficiency guidelines coming into force

A third draft of an industry commitment to improve the energy efficiency of household televisions looks set to be agreed by the European Commission in March, despite concern that some of the targets are undemanding.

The draft, a product of negotiations between the Commission and EICTA, the European Information, Communications and Consumer Electronics Technology Association, is an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from a sector that could be emitting 1.2 million tonnes of carbon a year in the UK alone by 2010 (ENDS Report 324, pp 24-26 ). It was issued for consultation last December.

The latest draft contains a number of improvements on its predecessors (ENDS Report 330, pp 53-54 ). In particular, the target for maximum power consumption in standby mode has been tightened from 2W by 2008 to 1W by 2007.

The revised draft contains the following targets for cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions:

  • Achieve a sales-weighted average power consumption in standby mode of 3W by 2005, although the target is 1W for new analogue chassis.

  • Achieve maximum power consumption in standby mode of 1W by 2007.

  • Improve the sales-weighted energy efficency index of televisions by at least 5% by 2007 and 10% by 2010.

  • From 1 November 2003, display information on the power consumption of all new televisions, including an estimated annual consumption, alongside the product at the point of sale.

    Similar targets have been set for non-CRT televisions, although these will only come into force when such products exceed 2% of market share. DVD players and VCRs will also be covered by the self-commitment.

    The targets will be subject to an annual review undertaken by EICTA in co-operation with the Commission and Member States.

    So far, the draft has received a mixed response from Member States. Martyn Webb of the UK Environment Department's Market Transformation Programme said that many countries thought that it "could go further", especially in terms of average standby power consumption. He pointed out that all the major television manufacturers already sell models that meet the 1W standard.

    Mr Webb added that DEFRA would like to see a commitment to a 10% improvement in the energy efficiency of televisions by 2005 rather than 2010.

    Bob Harrison of the Consumers Association commented: "The beauty of it is it's a quick fix. It gets things going." He said that this was more important than assuaging fears that new technologies will only be dealt with once they have become obsolete, since such issues could always be discussed at the annual reviews.

    It is likely, however, that Member States will have to swallow any reservations they may have, as EICTA is refusing to make any more changes to the self-commitment. "This is the final stab at satisfying the Member States," said Peter Evans of Sony UK. "We believe that this is the best we can achieve with the realistic effort we can put in."

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