Standby power consumption is now a significant issue. The number of products with a standby component in households appears to be increasing rapidly. Measurements in many countries have estimated that standby may be as high as 12% of residential electricity consumption in some economies and this is likely to grow without firm action by governments. However, it appears that a low standby future is both technically feasible and cost effective.
Standby power consumption is becoming a necessary element of many household products (providing improved control and increased sophistication), but paradoxically, while consumers appear to be concerned about standby, there is little information available in the marketplace. Due to low power levels and unusual current waveforms, standby power can be difficult to measure with accuracy. Standby is an international problem, in that many of the products with a standby component are internationally traded goods, so therefore it warrants an international solution.
Australia is taking a leading role in development and implementation of standby policy. Actions include active participation in International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) work to develop a test method for standby, regular store measurements in Australia of standby power for a wide range of new products offered for sale each year, and the development of a standby strategy which aims to get all target products to below 1 Watt by 2010. The strategy provides a clear and well-structured framework for industry and governments to cooperate and achieve standby targets. A range of policy measures are contemplated, from industry targets and voluntary agreements in the early stages to regulatory action in cases where adequate progress is not achieved.
For further information on standby power in Australia, visit the Equipment Energy Efficiency Program (E3), a collaborative initiative involving all jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand.
Authors: Lloyd Harrington and Shane Holt