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Technology Industry and Association Call Out Successes in Energy Efficiency

Arlington, VA – February 25, 2014 – 
The consumer electronics community takes seriously our commitment to reducing the environmental footprint of our industry. To that end, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® proudly organizes industry working groups and multi-stakeholder consortia to collect data, develop industry standards and measure industry performance to advance sustainability and understand environmental impacts.
 
Unfortunately, the Consumer Federation of America’s (CFA) recent research and subsequent assertions fail to acknowledge this continuous work among stakeholders, and the long track record of successful energy efficiency initiatives and programs for consumer electronics. More, CFA’s comments and research at best miss and at worst intentionally ignore or misrepresent the facts. For example:
 
CFA claims that electronic devices have been “off the radar screen” of policymakers.
 
  • The federal ENERGY STAR program, operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with voluntary manufacturer participation, started with computers only but now covers more than 65 categories of products;
 
  • More than 4.5 billion ENERGY STAR products have been purchased since the program’s inception in 1992; and
 
  • In 2012 alone, ENERGY STAR saved more than 1.8 billion tons of GHG emissions and $230 billion in utility bills.
 
CFA suggests that consumers are not paying attention to energy use.
 
  • CEA consumer research shows that energy efficiency is among the top three factors consumers consider when buying electronics; and
 
  • A 2012 research study commissioned by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency reported that 87 percent of U.S. households recognize the ENERGY STAR label.
 
CFA claims there is an increasing number of consumer electronics in the home.
 
  • CEA consumer research shows that the average number of consumer electronics devices in the home has remained relatively flat for eight years now; and
 
  • Digital technology has enabled tremendous savings and efficiency benefits for consumers in areas such as telework, e-commerce and home energy management.
 
CFA alleges a “failure of the marketplace to incorporate cost-effective, energy-saving technologies.”
 
 
  • Through magnetic fluid suspension, speakers can now consume approximately 35 percent less power than traditional designs;
 
  • By integrating a central processing unit with a discrete-level graphics processor onto a single chip, a new class of processor can extend battery life, providing, on average, 40 percent savings in GHG emissions; and
 
  • Reductions in fan power during normal operation allow servers to cool themselves by using less power than a typical nightlight does.
 
  • ENERGY STAR-certified AV products are up to 60 percent more energy efficient than conventional models and certified TVs are more than 25 percent more efficient;
 
  • The Fraunhofer report Energy Consumption of CE in U.S. Homes in 2010 found that, despite the soaring popularity of electronic devices, consumer electronics accounted for a relatively small share (approximately 13 percent) of the average U.S. home's electricity consumption; and
 
  • The 2011 TIAX study Power Consumption Trends in Digital TVs says television manufacturers have made huge strides in energy efficiency: active-mode power density in LCD TVs fell by 63 percent and standby-mode power density dropped 87 percent; among plasma models, active power demands fell 41 percent and standby power dropped 85 percent.
 
CFA states electricity consumption of consumer electronics is not visible to consumers.
 
  • Since 2011, the Federal Trade Commission’s energy labeling rule (“EnergyGuide”) has applied to televisions; and
 
  • CEA led a campaign to provide consumers with information about the energy use of their electronic devices in both watts and dollars.
 
CFA focuses solely on regulation, not the best means of supporting energy efficiency for electronics.
 
  • Issues such as product convergence, new model introductions, changing usage patterns, technology transitions and changing product definitions make the electronics industry a challenging sector for a regulatory approach based on government-mandated limits;
 
  • Such regulations will inevitably regulate “last year’s” product and run the risk of stifling innovation and development of future consumer electronics products; and
 
  • In contrast, market-oriented ENERGY STAR specifications have been revised at least 29 times for AV equipment, computers, imaging equipment, monitors/displays, set-top boxes and televisions in order to keep pace with the rapidly-evolving CE market.
 
CFA cites California’s appliance efficiency regulations as a model to follow.
 
  • The California Energy Commission has a bad track record on electronics: three independent analyses discovered California regulators’ use of old data, math errors and exaggerated energy savings, which collectively tipped the scales in favor of regulation; and
 
  • Although industry stakeholders have demonstrated a troubling pattern in California’s energy efficiency regulatory approach to consumer electronics, California regulators have refused to acknowledge these flaws or correct the public record.
 
In our most recent example of an innovation-friendly approach to energy efficiency, two months ago CEA teamed with the U.S. Department of Energy, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the Natural Resources Defense Council to announce a newly expanded Voluntary Agreement for pay-TV set-top boxes. This agreement will result in significant energy savings for more than 90 million U.S. homes and save consumers more than $1 billion annually on their energy bills, earning the public support of policymakers such as Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
 
In summary, the consumer electronics industry is proud of its wide range of initiatives that leverages the power of innovation to improve energy efficiency and reduces the environmental impacts of the industry. CEA welcomes CFA’s interest in energy efficiency, but we urge the federation to think outside the regulatory box, acknowledge the facts and consider more consumer- and innovation-friendly approaches to saving energy in the consumer electronics market.
 
 
 
About the Consumer Technology Assocation

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $208 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org, www.DeclareInnovation.com and through social media.

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