Electronic Design

Energy-Efficiency Standards Around The Globe

EU ENERGY + AND THE EU ECO LABEL: Energy + is an initiative of the European Commission and national energy and environmental agencies to promote energy-efficient refrigerators and freezers. They're not involved in electronics, except as they affect white goods. Texas Instruments, International Rectifier, and other compaies discovered that motor control in white goods presents a real opportunity, so look for tighter linkages between standards for major appliances and digital power.

Meanwhile, the EU Eco label is another voluntary label effort implemented by the European Union Eco-Labeling Board, with representatives from the European Union plus Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland. The scheme has created ecological criteria for a number of different product groups. Comparing EU Eco to other efforts, maximum standby specs for the baseline products being compared in the main article are 27 W for desktop computers, 5 W for laptops, and 1 W for TVs.

GEEA: Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland participate in the Group for Energy Efficient Appliances (GEEA). This extra-EU coordinating body interfaces between manufacturers and government agencies.

A partial list of representative standards for standby power includes 1 W for external power supplies, 1 W for passive standby in TVs (with active standby levels from 7 to 9 W, depending on whether the TV is for cable, terrestrial broadcast, or satellite reception), and 2 W for PCs in ?off? mode and 5 W in sleep mode (which must kick in within 30 minutes of idleness). Also, there are provisions for one or more mechanisms to power down the display within 30 minutes of user inactivity.

BLAUER ENGEL/BLUE ANGEL: A consortium of German governmental and non-governmental agencies operates Blue Angel, which will label just about anything consumers can buy. Currently, there are approximately 3800 certified Blue Angel products or services. The standards are fairly relaxed. Laptops and desktops have a 2-W maximum requirement for standby power. TV sets have a 4-W max standby limit, but with the requirement that the set's on/off switch provide the option of turning the box completely off.

NORDIC SWAN: Nordic Swan—a voluntary eco-labeling system for Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark—has been in place since 1989. Some representative no-load/standby power levels include: laptops, 1 W no-load, 2 W off, 5 W sleep; desktops, 2 W off, 5 W sleep; conventional 50-Hz scan-rate TVs, 1 W; 100-Hz TVs, 3 W.

ASIAN PROGRAMS: The China Energy Conservation Project (CECP) has a large energy-conservation certification program, but it has scarcely touched electronics. Instead, it's focused mainly on appliances, and industrial products. CECP does, however, have a 3-W standby power standard for TVs.

Korea's Energy Saving Office Equipment & Home Electronics Program is another voluntary label program, but with preferential government purchasing attached. It's a partnership between manufacturers and the Korean government's Korea Energy Management Corporation (KEMCO).

The groups are hoping for a presidential directive with mandatory standby power limits, similar to Bush's Executive Order 13221, to be implemented by 2010. Meanwhile, voluntary no-load or standby power goals are 0.8 W for external supplies, 3 W for TVs and DVD players, 4 W for combo TV/VCR/DVD players, and a fairly generous 10 to 15 W for various types of computers.

Finally, Japan's Top Runner program is in response to Japan's ?Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy.? Implemented by the Japanese Ministry for Economic Trade and Industry (METI), it takes a best-practices approach to continuous improvement. Rather than set fixed arbitrary levels, it identifies the most efficient product in each market and turns its specs into the level that all similar products must meet by a specified date. As of now, standby requirements exist for computers, copiers, TVs, and VCRs.
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