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There are no quick fixes to long-term energy challenges. To find solutions, governments and industry benefit from sharing resources and accelerating results. For this reason the IEA enables independent groups of experts - the Energy Technology Initiatives, or ETIs1.

Energy Efficient End-Use Equipment

As a result of government policies, energy consumption for standby power for televisions has declined in many countries since 2001.

The power of policies 

Policy Context
Many governments have a portfolio of successful energy efficiency policies for buildings, major appliances and industry. However, the wide variety of electrical equipment and their growing complexity pose new challenges for policy makers. As international trade in electrical equipment grows, international co-operation enables countries to develop policy approaches more effectively than acting alone.

The ETI focusing on efficiency of end-use equipment (4E) supports sound policy development in the field of energy efficient appliances and equipment. It provides a forum for governments and other stakeholders to understand effective approaches to policies that will improve efficiencies of electrical equipment. There are currently 12 Contracting Parties.

High-level international commitments can have real and lasting impacts on policy and carbon emissions. The mapping and benchmarking work stream of the 4E tracks the effect of policy interventions on product performance.

One recent 4E report, Benchmarking of the Standby Power Performance of Domestic Appliances, shows conclusively and for the first time that the IEA 1‑Watt plan to reduce standby power1, adopted by G8 ministers in 2005, has been effective.

The majority of devices are now well on course to meet this target, as illustrated by this figure showing the progress on reducing electricity consumption of standby use in televisions. These gains were made possible by policies enacted since 2001. This includes measures such as minimum efficiency performance standards, or MEPS (Korea, Canada); voluntary labelling (United States), and voluntary commitments (European Union).

The 4E analysis concludes that regulatory policies appear to deliver significant gains more quickly than other policy measures. Additionally, early signalling and delivery of a comprehensive policy plan in Korea was particularly successful – driving markets further and faster than could have been achieved through commercial development. The study developed methodologies to assist in the collection and analysis of standby power data to facilitate international comparisons. Six products were tested. For televisions (TVs), nearly 9 519 measurements were collected on over 6 000 TVs2 in six countries or regions, representing approximately 45% of global TV sales in 2011.

As well as demonstrating the success of policies designed to address conventional standby power, this analysis highlights the emerging threat of ‘network standby’, when devices connected to networks consume excessive power; while developing policy solutions to tackle these problems.

Similarly, comprehensive and detailed analysis by the 4E of refrigerators, air conditioners, computers, washing machines and lights have been used to formulate national and regional energy efficiency policies in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region. 

1. In 1999 the IEA proposed the 1-Watt Plan, i.e. that all countries harmonise energy policies to reduce standby power use to no more than one watt per device.

2. Including cathode ray tubes (CRT), liquid-crystal displays (LCD) (representing 83% of world markets), and others. 

Current projects

  • Electric motor systems
  • Mapping and benchmarking
  • Monitoring, verification and enforcement
  • Policy driven innovation
  • Smart metering infrastructure
  • Solid state lighting
  • Standby power

For more information: 


1.Information or material of the IEA Energy Technology Initiatives, or ETIs (formally organised under the auspices of an Implementing Agreement), including information or material published on this website, does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of the IEA’s individual Member countries. The IEA does not make any representation or warranty (express or implied) in respect of such information (including as to its completeness, accuracy or non-infringement) and shall not be held liable for any use of, or reliance on, such information.