Pay-TV, Energy Department partner to boost STB energy efficiency

Michelle Clancy | 27-12-2013

The US Energy Department is teaming up with green advocates and the pay-TV industry to boost energy efficiency standards for pay-TV set-top boxes by 10% to 45% (depending on box type) by 2017, which will save more than $1 billion on consumer energy bills annually.

The energy savings would eliminate the need for three power plants and prevent five million tons of C02 emissions per year, saving enough electricity each year to power 700,000 homes.
The Energy Department is partnering with the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) on a non-regulatory initiative that will result in significant energy savings for more than 90 million US homes. Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and most other major cable, satellite and IPTV providers are also on board.
"These energy efficiency standards reflect a collaborative approach among the Energy Department, the pay-TV industry and energy efficiency groups – building on more than three decades of common sense efficiency standards that are saving American families and businesses hundreds of billions of dollars," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "The set-top box efficiency standards will save families money by saving energy, while delivering high quality appliances for consumers that keep pace with technological innovation."
As consumer demand for digital video recorders and high definition set-top boxes grows, actual consumer savings are likely to be even greater. The introduction of whole-home devices will also further reduce the overall energy footprint.
"In 2011, I urged the CEOs of every major television service provider to work together to introduce more energy efficient set-top boxes," said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif). "At the time, set-top boxes were costing Americans $3 billion in electricity charges each year — with $2 billion wasted when televisions were not being used."
The agreement, which runs through 2017, covers all types of set-top boxes from pay-TV providers, including cable, satellite and telephone companies. The agreement also requires the pay-TV industry to publicly report model-specific set-top box energy use and requires an annual audit of service providers by an independent auditor to ensure boxes are performing at the efficiency levels specified in the agreement. The Energy Department also retains its authority to test set-top boxes under the Energy Star verification programme, which provides another verification tool to measure the efficiency of set-top boxes.
This non-regulatory agreement supports the Energy Department's broader efforts to increase the energy efficiency of residential and commercial appliances and products. Under the Obama Administration, the Department has finalised new efficiency standards for more than 30 household and commercial products, which are estimated to save consumers a total of more than $400 billion through 2030.