February 12, 2010
| by Tom LeBlanc
As California goes, so goes the nation. That old saying now applies to state regulations setting energy-efficiency standards for TVs.
On the heels of the California Energy Commission (CEC) approving TV energy usage regulations, Maryland, Massachusetts (House Bill 3124, New York (Assembly Bill 9387), Washington (House bill 2416 and Senate Bill 6489 concerning electronics) and Wisconsin (Senate Bill 450 and Assembly Bill 649 concerning electronics) have introduced similar energy-efficiency legislation that regulate TVs, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
The bills in Massachusetts and Washington include additional electronics components beyond TVs. “Where other electronics are included, it’s often audio and video products, primarily compact audio and DVD or Blu-ray players. The focus is on [energy usage in] standby mode,” say Doug Johnson, senior director, technology policy, CEA.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s voluntary Energy Star program, meanwhile, “has been successful in monitoring standby power,” Johnson says. “These bills seem to disregard the success of the Energy Star program.”
A document supplied by the office of Massachusetts State Rep. Frank Smizik (D), co-sponsor of his state’s bill, indicates that “voluntary programs like Energy Star are valuable, but only reach some consumers.” It adds that it’s “designed to highlight the best 25 [percent] of products available” and that “minimum standards deliver much bigger savings by assuring that all purchases meet a basic level of efficiency performance.”
Example: Massachusetts Bill
The proposed legislation in Massachusetts, “An Act Relative to Expanding Energy Efficiency in the Commonwealth,” includes the following regulations:
- Compact Audio or Shelf Systems — These “shall not use more than 2 watts in standby-passive mode for those without a permanently illuminated clock display and 4 watts in standby-passive mode for those with a permanently illuminated clock display …”
- DVD Players — These “shall not use more than 3 watts in standby-passive mode …”
- TVs 58 Inches and Under— In tier one, TVs “shall use not more than (0.20*screen area (inches[squared]) + 32) watts in on mode and no more than 1 watt in standby-passive mode. On and after January 1, 2013, televisions shall use no more than (0.12*screen area (inches[squared]) + 25 watts in on mode and no more than 1 watt in standby passive model …”
“We took a larger lead, trying to broaden energy efficiency,” says Smizik, comparing his co-sponsored bill to California’s.