Top TV Makers Join Energy-Saving Initiative

Overview While not every American has an EV or full solar power to the home, virtually every U.S. consumer has a TV. Many of us watch a lot of it, unaware of power consumption. CTA members care about sustainability, and are backing a voluntary initiative focused on TV energy efficiency. Take a look at how companies, CTA and energy-efficiency advocates have joined forces to make TVs more eco-friendly.

Television sets, the entertainment hub of some 123 million homes in the U.S. alone, consume electricity to deliver the amazing viewing experiences that consumers expect. Although their power use is much lower than that of several major home appliances, TVs contribute a share to home energy bills based on their active-mode and standby-mode power consumption.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) published a report in 2019 warning that TV standby-power use could increase substantially to support smart TV features such as the ability to wake from voice commands. In its report, NRDC said that linking smart speakers to a TV can cause standby power and overall annual energy use to skyrocket. According to NRDC, this spike in energy consumption - potentially exceeding $1 billion annually - could be avoided if all TV models were designed to sleep at less than 1 or 2 watts when connected to a smart speaker.

Industry Takes Energy Action 

In 2020, leading TV manufacturers and efficiency-advocacy organizations NRDC and American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) teamed up to counter avoidable power consumption by America’s favorite entertainment device. They signed an agreement to cooperatively develop a test method for gauging power consumption related to smart TV features, and to better approximate real-world viewing conditions. They also agreed to collectively urge the testing method’s adoption by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It was successfully completed, and published as an industry standard, in September 2022. It was adopted by DOE in March 2023.
Concurrently, industry and the energy-efficiency advocates worked together on a new approach supporting continued power-use improvements in TVs. The result was a voluntary agreement to advance TV energy efficiency. To date, all major TV brands have signed on to the voluntary agreement. First to join were CTA members – with Innovation Award winners among them -- Google TV, Hisense and Sony. Additional CTA member signatories include Samsung and TCL. More recently, three other top brands signed on in support of the voluntary initiative: CTA members LG, Roku and Vizio. Together, the signatory TV manufacturers represent the vast majority of the North American market.
As announced in January at CES 2023, this landmark voluntary agreement will significantly improve TV power demands across the U.S. and Canada. Similar to other voluntary compacts for set-top boxes and small network equipment in the U.S. and Canada, the TV agreement includes multiple levels of transparency and verification designed to foster public trust and reliance. Agreement provisions include oversight by an independent administrator, annual independent-verification testing supervised by the advocates, annual audits and public reporting, and comprehensive data posted to company and program websites. If any signatory misses a commitment, it must implement a remedial plan overseen by the energy efficiency advocates and the independent administrator. 
The first phase of the voluntary agreement will result in savings of an estimated 58 terawatt-hours once fully realized, precluding more than 10 million metric tons per year of CO2 emissions. Consumer energy savings are expected to exceed $2 billion annually.

Common-Sense Collaboration

The agreement signatories recognize what can be accomplished when industry and advocates collaborate to address common sustainability goals. As CTA has consistently maintained, powerful planet-friendly outcomes can be realized via voluntary and private-sector-driven action that simultaneously protects innovation and competition.

With this agreement, TVs will continue to deliver high-demand features while using less energy. Consumers will save money, and the industry will make a meaningful contribution toward state, regional and national climate goals.
To learn more about CTA efforts on the tech industry’s behalf, visit our membership page. For insights and updates on environmental action across the tech industry, check out our sustainability topic page

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