Article | April 19, 2021

Earth Day, Every Day for the Tech Industry

Alicia Goodman

Earth Day is a time set aside to demonstrate support for environmental protection, but consumer technology companies are taking action every day to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

On a company level, tech companies are setting goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for their operations and value chains. For the consumer devices they create, tech companies are innovating to reduce energy consumption. And with an eye on a future with a smart energy grid infrastructure, the industry has laid the groundwork for a new generation of smart grid products.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® and its members are setting ambitious goals and are actively involved in sustainability efforts that are making real change.

Improving the Energy Efficiency of Set-Top Boxes

The award-winning Voluntary Agreement for Ongoing Improvement to the Energy Efficiency of Set-Top Boxes, supported by CTA, is an initiative to make set-top boxes more energy efficient, resulting in a reduction in carbon emissions. 

Signed by all major multichannel pay TV providers, major manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates, the agreement has already driven companies to make device improvements that have avoided 39 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, from the establishment of the agreement in 2012 through 2019.

"The phenomenal progress we’ve seen in energy and cost reduction due to this voluntary agreement is a testament to what can be accomplished through private sector initiative and collaboration," said Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy, CTA.

With these ongoing, incremental improvements in energy efficiency, the TV industry and set-top box manufacturers are helping reduce energy use, avoid carbon emissions and lower customers' utility bills, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The agreement was recently extended through 2025, by which time set-top boxes in the U.S. are projected to use only one-third of the energy they did in 2012.

Preparing for a Smart Energy Grid

To improve the reliability and efficiency of the energy grid, utility companies around the world are investing in smart grid infrastructure, and the tech industry is pivotal in supporting smart grid connectivity to businesses and homes.

A new CTA standard for a modular communications interface for energy management, released in February 2021, has the potential to enable a new generation of smart grid-ready products.

If manufacturers embrace the standardized interface and build it into their products, utility companies can tailor the functionality of the removable module to cater to the unique needs of a region or service territory. 

Featured Research

CTA’s 2020 Industry Report on GHG Emissions

The second annual report quantifies GHG emissions data from CTA member companies who publicly disclose their emissions data and highlights accomplishments in reducing GHG emissions year-over-year, both in the U.S. and across the globe.