U.S. set-top box energy efficiency voluntary agreement extended

Thursday, March 15th, 2018
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Consumers Will Save Billions More as Landmark Set-Top Box Voluntary Agreement is Extended

  • Energy Secretary Perry Praises the Agreement

ARLINGTON, VA — Today, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and NCTA – The Internet & Television Association (NCTA) announced a four-year extension of the award-winning Voluntary Agreement for Ongoing Improvement to the Energy Efficiency of Set-Top Boxes, initially signed in 2012. The extended agreement is expected to save consumers $1.6 billion in energy costs and avoid 9.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year once the benefits of the agreement’s new commitments are fully realized. These savings are the equivalent of avoiding the electricity use of every home in Chicago or the emissions of more than two million passenger cars each year.

“DOE supports the commitment from industry to improve energy efficiency, and looks forward to the renewal of this voluntary agreement with our private sector partners,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Reducing federal regulatory burdens is a priority for myself and this Administration, and voluntary industry standards such as this are an effective alternative to government regulation.”

An independent report by D+R International shows that the voluntary agreement has already saved consumers $2.1 billion and avoided 11.8 million metric tons of CO2 emissions over its first four years through 2016. Annual savings are expected to top $1 billion in 2017 alone due to the completed implementation of a second tier of tightened energy efficiency commitments. The new agreement includes a commitment to achieve even more rigorous third-tier energy performance levels by 2020- nearly 20 percent more efficient than the second tier – that will ultimately save consumers an additional $600 million annually on top of the more than $1 billion in annual savings secured by the continuation of the existing program. These savings will be verified by D+R in further annual reports using data from the service providers, audits and independent lab tests observed by accredited third parties.

The extension of the agreement runs through a report in 2022. The signatories also agreed to continue and intensify ongoing technical studies and collaborative efforts to lay a foundation for even more rigorous energy efficiency levels in the future. These new commitments carry forward the agreement’s initial successes that led it to be named “Project of the Year” by Environmental Leader in 2016.

“The Voluntary Agreement is already moving toward its third generation of improved energy standards and has saved consumers billions of dollars without slowing the rollout of new services such as 4K Ultra High-Definition set-top boxes,” said Neal Goldberg, NCTA’s General Counsel. “The extension of the Voluntary Agreement demonstrates our industry’s commitment to approaches that assure our customers benefit from energy efficiency measures while maintaining our ability to develop new services and equipment which they demand.”

“CTA believes that voluntary, market-driven initiatives are the most effective means of promoting and achieving significant energy efficiency gains,” said Doug Johnson, Vice President of Technology Policy, CTA. “The set-top box agreement is a successful public-private partnership that accommodates both rapid technological change and significant energy efficiency goals. Across the board, tech devices are becoming more energy efficient, and our industry remains committed to providing consumers with products, services and systems that save money and cut energy use.”

The new voluntary agreement will keep pace with evolving consumer TV-viewing habits by requiring new reporting on the availability and use of apps that offer consumers an alternative to using set-top boxes for every screen. According to a recent CTA study, The Changing Landscape for Video and Content, consumers watch video content on devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones (49 percent) as much as on televisions (51 percent). These new video watching trends are expected to help deliver more energy savings.

A new CTA report finds that while the number of tech devices in our homes is increasing, their share of our total energy use is steadily shrinking. Today, U.S. households’ consumer tech devices consume 25 percent less energy than they did in 2010. Investments in lightweight materials and energy efficient technologies, as well as the convergence of multi-function devices and continuous innovation, have helped the industry reduce its impact on the environment.

Agreement signatories include all major multichannel pay TV providers (AT&T/DIRECTV, Comcast, Charter, DISH, Verizon, Cox, Cablevision, Frontier and CenturyLink), major manufacturers (ARRIS) and Technicolor) and energy efficiency advocates (NRDC and ACEEE). CableLabs also plays a leading role in researching and developing energy efficiency strategies, defining the energy efficiency tiers, and supporting the ongoing implementation of the Voluntary Agreement.