In California, charging up energy efficiency

battery chargers, energy efficency, reglementation Despite the proliferation of mobile devices in our everyday lives, little thought is given to the energy efficiency of one special and essential component: the charger.

However, this looks set to change. The state of California has just approved a new energy efficiency standard for battery chargers, representing the first such legislation in the country. The standard is intended to reduce wasted energy from battery chargers used with cell phones, laptop computers and power tools, not to mention a host of other portable devices.

According to the California Energy Commission, there are an estimated 170 million chargers in California households, an average of 11 per home. The Commission said the proposed standards can save around 2,200 gigawatt hours a year, the equivalent of powering nearly 350,000 homes. Once it has been fully implemented, the new standard is set to save California ratepayers over $300 million a year and eliminate one million metric tons of carbon emissions.

California Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller said of the new standard: “When you consider powering California’s plugged-in lifestyle, these new efficiency standards will save consumers money and energy. The standards will reduce the wasted electricity from powering our day-to-day appliances by 40 percent and help California meet its strategic climate policy goals. Once again, California is setting the standard for energy efficiency, keeping the state’s dominance as the most energy efficient state per capita.”

Same performance, less waste

The Commission claimed that nearly two-thirds of the 8,000 gigawatt hours currently consumed in California by battery charger systems is wasted by inefficiency. The new standard will require battery chargers sold in the state to consumer less energy while providing the same performance. Other products to have energy saving standards established for them in the state to date include: refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, heat clothes dryers, pumps, boilers, furnaces water heaters, lighting, and most recently, televisions.

Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, praised the development: “The standards announced today are a testament to California’s ongoing leadership in energy efficiency. These smart measures will save consumers and businesses money, while reducing pollution and alleviating demand on the state’s power grid. California once again serves as a model for sensible, cost-effective policies paving the way for greater energy savings at the national level.”

Most states have existing standards for devices such as light bulbs. Battery chargers represent a step to another level, and one that other states will monitor with interest.

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