Photo via Crucsou-Barus via Flickr CC
Today, the California Energy Commission is holding a hearing on the proposed energy efficiency standards for televisions sold in California stores. We've been tracking the controversy, as the Consumer Electronics Association and many manufacturers balk at the proposal. However, the standards will go a long way in keeping energy sucking sets out of homes, and with the possibility of saving 3.5 million tons of CO2, and saving enough electricity to power nearly 1 million homes annually, environmental groups - and even utility Pacific Gas and Electric - are going to bat for the improved standards. The Environmental Defense Fund is urging the (CEC) to adopt the nation's first energy efficiency standards for big screen TVs. The proposal will take any TVs not meeting the standards off store shelves. While consumers could still purchase TVs from other sources such as online, not having them readily available in stores will save consumers money, cut energy use and reduce global warming pollution. The commission will vote on their adoption on November 4.
"Making TVs more energy efficient is a no-brainer because it can be done at no additional cost, will save consumers money, and help save the planet," said Lauren Navarro, an attorney for Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) based in Sacramento. "By proposing smart regulations that conserve electricity, drive industry innovation and are a win-win for our economy and our environment, California is again creating a model for the nation to follow."
The standards are where the television industry is headed anyway, since efficiency is all the rage, and LED and OLED options are on their way. The standards require new TVs smaller than 58 inches sold in California to be 33% more efficient starting in 2011 and 49% more efficient starting in 2013. More than 1,000 television models on the market today meet the 2011 standards, according the CEC, but still the CEA says that it will cost jobs and tax revenue. However, that is very short -term thinking.
As the EDF points out, "Consumers can expect to save $50-$250 in utility costs over the life of their TVs with these standards, based on agency estimates. That translates into a statewide total household savings of nearly $1 billion a year and an estimated $8.1 billion savings over a 10-year period. Savings represent the value of energy saved by televisions manufactured and sold after the standards go into effect in 2011 and 2013. It is equivalent to powering 864,000 single family homes annually."
Even a major utility wants consumers to use less power - PG&E;, who helped draft the standards, says the improvements are expected to cut carbon dioxide pollution by 3.5 million metric tons
"Improving energy efficiency is the easiest and most cost-effective way to cut pollution and save consumers and businesses money," concluded Navarro. "We need to harness all energy efficiency opportunities as the State develops a comprehensive plan to meet the goals of our landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32)."
We will find out what happens with the hearing, and in November when the final decision will be made.
More on California's TV Efficiency Drama
California Wants to Kick Energy-Sucking TVs Out of Stores
California Releases Proposal for Tightened TV Efficiency Standards, Manufacturers Grumble