Energy Star Cable Boxes Saved $450M in Energy Last Year

November 6, 2013 By Leon Walker

energystarCable television set-top boxes certified by the EPA’s Energy Star program delivered nearly $450 million in consumer energy savings last year, according to agency figures.

The reductions are the result of a half-decade-long set-top box-focused program.

In 2008, cable and satellite boxes consumed 27,000 GWh of electricity – as much as the entire state of Maryland, the EPA says. Most standard set-top boxes used as much power when not in use as when they were playing/recording, according to the agency.

In 2008, the EPA issued a mandate requiring Energy Star-labeled set-top boxes to use 45 percent less energy. Other initiatives included targeting energy hogging accepted industry practices such as boxes being always on at full power. The introduction of such modes as “meaningful sleep mode” and “deep sleep mode” turn off all but necessary functions.

The market share of Energy Star labeled set-top boxes has increased from around 50 percent in 2009 to nearly 90 percent in 2013, the agency says.

In other Energy Star news, the EPA has issued a ruling that all Energy Star labeled “small network equipment”  such as modems and routers will have to use 20 percent less energy than previously.

If all small network equipment sold in the US were Energy Star certified under the new mandate, energy savings would grow to more than $590 million each year, the agency says.

Small network equipment tends to be on all the time and use the same amount of energy regardless of whether it is passing traffic or not. The Energy Star specification recognizes equipment that meets rigorous low traffic rate efficiency criteria, so the products use less energy when they are not in use.

The standard also provides incentives for the implementation of two energy-saving capabilities, Energy Efficiency Ethernet and External Network Proxy that further enhance product and network system efficiency, the agency says.

According to a Natural Resources Defense Council report released in July, cable modems and WiFi routers consume $1 billion worth of energy per year in the US.

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