Progress in cutting stand-by energy use

According to a Parliamentary answer by Environment Minister Elliot Morley, electricity consumption of appliances in stand-by mode was responsible for "around one million tonnes of carbon" in 2002 - about 0.6% of the UK's total CO2 emissions.

Consumer electronics, home computers, domestic cooking equipment and office equipment in stand-by mode used 6.4TWh of electricity, representing emissions of some 0.6mtC. Estimates for white goods and other consumer equipment that still uses energy from external power supplies even when not in use are less certain.

Mr Morley said that the Government's Market Transformation Programme has been encouraging manufacturers to reduce stand-by power consumption of household appliances through design improvements, voluntary codes of conduct and best practice guidelines.

The main success has been with televisions, where an EU-wide voluntary agreement will reduce stand-by power consumption of most new units to around 1W compared to the 3-8W for older models (ENDS Report 324, pp 24-26 ). Mr Morley expects the agreement to cover DVD players "shortly", while a similar agreement for external power supplies aims to encourage a reduction from the present average of just over 2W to around 0.5W.