Calif. advances tough flat-screen energy standards

September 19, 2009 By SAMANTHA YOUNG , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Energy regulators on Friday moved forward with a plan that could ban the sale of the most power-hungry televisions from California retail stores.

The California Energy Commission released what it hopes will be the nation's first energy-efficiency requirements for the flat-screen TVs. A final vote on the regulation is expected in November.

If the commission adopts the new rules, beginning in 2011, California retailers would be able to sell only TVs that meet the guidelines of the voluntary federal Energy Star program.

Commission spokeswoman Susanne Garfield-Jones said at least 850 models already meet the standards.

"The energy savings can be huge given that we have about 35 million TVs in the state, and we sell about 4 million each year," Garfield-Jones said.

California has previously set efficiency requirements on dishwashers, washing machines and other household appliances as a way to confront the state's growing electricity demand. Regulators turned their attention 18 months ago to TVs, which they say are not only growing in size and electricity use but are being watched more at home.

Televisions hooked up to DVRs, DVD players, and cable or satellite boxes now consume about 10 percent of a home's electricity, according to the Energy Commission. While the energy savings of each TV set will vary depending on the size and model, the 2011 standards are expected to reduce energy consumption by about one-third. Tougher standards in 2013 would reduce by nearly half.

Industry leaders say the standards could limit consumer choice, stifle the kind of innovation that has improved TV picture quality over the years, and drive California shoppers to the Internet or out of state.

"Independent studies show millions in tax revenue and thousands of jobs are at stake," said Doug Johnson, senior director of technology policy at the Consumer Electronics Association.

The industry has argued the standards would leave Californians with TVs that have poorer picture quality and fewer features than those sold elsewhere in the United States.

In concession to independent retailers that sell large, high-end home-theater TVs, regulators scaled back their initial proposal to exempt TV sets larger than 58 inches. That drew the ire of at least one environmental group that has lobbied for the standards.

"These are the SUVs of the industry," said Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "They use more energy than the smaller ones. They are used in bars, hotels, and can easily be on for 12 hours a day."

Energy spokeswoman Garfield-Jones said the larger sets account for 2 to 3 percent of the market and regulators intend to set standards for them at a later date.

The average plasma TV uses more than three times as much energy as an old cathode-ray tube set, and a 48-inch plasma TV can draw more power than a large refrigerator - even if the set is used only a few hours a day, regulators say.

Liquid-crystal display, or LCD, TVs guzzle less - about 43 percent more energy than tube sets, according to a study by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. LCDs now account for about 90 percent of the 4 million TVs sold in California annually.


On the Net:


The Consumer Electronics Association:

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: New standards for Energy Star fridges

Related Stories

New standards for Energy Star fridges

August 4, 2007

The U.S. Department of Energy is increasing the energy efficiency criteria required for refrigerators carrying the Energy Star label.

Australia takes on energy-guzzling TVs

October 10, 2007

A report for the Australian government recommends new energy efficiency standards for televisions that would ban most plasma models now available.

TV makers hope thin is in for newest sets

July 6, 2009

(AP) -- Lee Richman installs high-end home theater systems that can cost as much as $170,000. Lately, he's noticed that some of his clients - or their interior designers - are perking up when they hear about ultra-slim TV ...

SKorean TV giants tout differing technologies

September 6, 2009

The world's top two makers of flat-panel televisions are stressing the energy-saving virtues of different display technologies in their race to dominate a huge global market.

Recommended for you

Roboticists learn to teach robots from babies

December 1, 2015

Babies learn about the world by exploring how their bodies move in space, grabbing toys, pushing things off tables and by watching and imitating what adults are doing.

Xbox gaming technology may improve X-ray precision

December 1, 2015

With the aim of producing high-quality X-rays with minimal radiation exposure, particularly in children, researchers have developed a new approach to imaging patients. Surprisingly, the new technology isn't a high-tech, high-dollar ...

Making 3-D imaging 1,000 times better

December 1, 2015

MIT researchers have shown that by exploiting the polarization of light—the physical phenomenon behind polarized sunglasses and most 3-D movie systems—they can increase the resolution of conventional 3-D imaging devices ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Sep 20, 2009
I like calif car emission standards. But I think this TV move is misguided. Better to tax energy use directly and use that revenue to offset pollution. Dont limit TV choices based on consumption. Makers and consumers are already aware of the issue. If you tax energy use directly instead, you incentivize the consumer to choose greater efficiency in ALL appliances, use, habits, etc.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.