U.S. government and California to cut energy consumption for TV sets

Under new requirements from the Energy Star program, television set manufacturers who want to display the Energy Star logo will have to cut the power use of flat-panel television sets.

The manufacturers must meet two new sets of power consumption criteria, to be phased in, by May 2010, and May 2012. Energy Star guidelines are not mandatory.

The Energy Star program was created in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission by power plants. Devices carrying the Energy Star logo, such as computer products and peripherals, kitchen appliances, buildings and other products, save 20 percent to 30 percent on average.

Under the new requirements, 42in HDTVs, which now cannot use more than 208W when powered on, will have to consume just 115W in 2010 and 81W in 2012. Fifty-inch sets, which now can use 318W, will have to drop that to 153W and 108W.

However, California is proposing strict mandatory energy consumption rules that some predict will stop the sale of certain types of TV sets in that state. Under its two-tiered proposal, TV sets would have to meet energy consumption guidelines for new sets manufactured after Jan.1, 2011, and a second tougher set of requirements from Jan. 1, 2013.

In California, a 42in wide-screen TV set would have to use no more than 182W when powered up under the first set of rules, and then 115W under the second.

While not as strict as the Energy Star guidelines, California’s requirements may be mandated for sale in the state. A final decision on the California standard won’t come for at least two months.

During the delay, the California Energy Commission will testify before the state assembly, and modifications are possible.