i3 | November 15, 2017

Reducing Home Energy Use

Elliot Grimm

Millions of U.S. homes connect to the internet and watch television every day, requiring innovations that deliver lightning fast speed. One wouldn’t be blamed for thinking these activities consume a significant amount of residential electricity. Thankfully, CTA and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) are working closely with the technology sector to save consumers money and cut carbon emissions. Through two voluntary agreements (VA) that reduce energy consumption of set-top boxes (STB) and small network equipment (SNE), the industry is taking strong leadership in improving the energy efficiency of home technology.

According to the latest annual report, the STB voluntary agreement saved consumers more than $941 million in energy costs in 2016. Over the past three years, the VA has increased energy savings — doubling in 2014, nearly doubling again in 2015, and then increasing by another 47 percent in 2016.

“Tech innovation and energy efficiency go hand-in-hand and the latest independent administrator’s report is further validation that voluntary agreements truly are the most effective and immediate means of helping governments meet their energy efficiency goals related to our sector,” said Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy, CTA.

Since being signed in 2012, the STB voluntary agreement has saved consumers nearly $2.1 billion in energy costs and avoided 11.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The energy saved in just four years is equivalent to the energy used by all of the homes in Washington, DC, and Chicago combined for an entire year. Even as our STBs gain more features and abilities, their overall national energy consumption has reduced 23.4 percent since the VA’s inception.

The agreement’s outstanding results were recognized when it was named an Environmental Leader Project of the Year in 2016. The judges cited the initiative’s success in establishing a collaborative effort that significantly reduced the industry’s impact on the environment while saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. Once the industry saw how a collaborative, voluntary approach could effectively improve the energy efficiency of STBs, stakeholders created a new agreement involving SNE to reduce the energy used by the devices connected to consumers’ home internet.

In 2015, most major internet service providers, as well as retailers of internet equipment such as modems and routers, joined the SNE voluntary agreement. Just two years later, the findings demonstrate another industry success story: Nearly all reported units purchased and sold in 2016 met the agreement’s rigorous efficiency

standards, helping reduce energy consumption in millions of U.S. homes.

According to the latest annual report, 98 percent of units met VA’s standards, increasing from 89 percent a year ago, even as consumers demanded increasingly robust equipment to support higher-speed services and increased Wi-Fi capacity

within their homes.

The successes of both of these voluntary, private sector-driven agreements show the effectiveness in providing meaningful energy and cost savings to consumers and the country. Whether by innovating devices that are faster and smarter, or ones that help reduce energy costs, the industry is working toward improving the consumer experience.

November/December 2017 i3 Cover Issue

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