08 October 2008 – Ecodesign Regulatory Committee members have endorsed a European Commission’s proposal for regulations aimed at reducing electricity consumption in Europe. One of the two proposals is aimed at office, industrial and street lighting products while the second affects the devices that convert digital TV signals to analogue signal

"These measures are concrete contributions to reach the EU’s energy efficiency targets. Once they are in place they will significantly reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and foreign dependency in a cost effective manner", said Andris Piebalgs, EU Energy Commissioner.

The first proposal targets products typically used in street, office and industrial lighting: fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps and related ballasts and luminaires. The aim is to save 15% of the electricity consumed by this equipment – consumption is currently estimated to reach 260 TWh per year by 2020 without intervention. The estimated annual savings are equal to 38 TWh (roughly the annual electricity consumption of Romania) and would lead to approximately 15 Mt CO2 emission reduction per year.

The second proposal aims at reducing the energy consumption of simple set-top boxes which are used to convert digital broadcasting signals into analogue signals suitable for television sets.  Given the broad introduction of digital broadcasting in Europe, it is anticipated that sales and energy consumption of these devices will sky-rocket over the next few years.  The new regulation aims to reduce consumption from 14 TWh to 5TWh.

The proposals will now have to go before the European parliament and could be formally adopted as early as January 2009.  Further measures are being considered for products in the domestic sector.