The state of California often leads the rest of the United States on environmentally-conscious regulation and legislation, perhaps most notably with a long-term effort to reign in motor vehicle emissions. Now, the state has turned its attention to televisions, adopting energy efficiency standards that will be imposed on new televisions starting in January 2011—and then get even tougher in 2013.
“In California, televisions (along with DVRs, DVD players, and cable/satellite boxes) now consume about 10 percent of a home’s electricity,” California Energy Commission members Arthur Rosenfeld and Julia Levin wrote in a statement. ” Increasing sales of flat screen televisions, larger screen sizes, the growing number of TVs per household, and increased daily use of televisions all contribute to greater electricity consumption.”
The new regulations cover LCD and plasma televisions up to 58-inches in size: larger televisions are exempt. By 2011, new televisions sold in California will be allowed to consume a maximum of 1 watt of electricity when turned off, and a maximum of 0.2 watts per square inch of screen real estate, with a base allowance of 32 watts. In 2013, the regulations will clamp down even further, with new TVs allowed to consumer just 0.12 watts per square inch, with a base allowance of 25 watts.
The California Energy Commission estimates that after the existing “stock” of televisions in the state are replaced—a process that might take decades—the total energy savings from the regulations could be as high as 6,515 gigawatt-hours—enough to power over 800,000 households for a year.
While many Energy Star-certified televisions for sale today already meet the 2011 requirements, not all do. California is banking on support from large flat-screen TV manufacturers as well as leading consumer electronics retailers to support the regulations.