New Study Considers the Harmonization Potential of TV Efficiency Policies and Test Methods in SEAD and APEC Economies

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Global television sales continue to grow as product prices steadily decline, and TVs now account for an estimated 3% to 8% of global residential energy use. Improving the energy efficiency of TVs becomes increasingly important against this backdrop, in order to offset the potential energy and environmental impacts of continued growth in television sales. TV supply chains are global in nature, however, and global action around TV efficiency is hindered by competing national and regional policies governing TV energy use. Efforts to facilitate improvement in TV efficiency worldwide would therefore benefit from the establishment of a level international playing field around TV energy performance requirements and associated test methods.

A new study by the SEAD Initiative seeks to advance international harmonization of TV energy efficiency policies by analysing the test methods and performance requirements currently in use around the world, identifying opportunities for achieving greater international policy alignment. This study was carried out in support of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)Collaborative Assessment of Standards and Testing Methods (CAST), with specific focus on SEAD and APEC economies, including Australia, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, the United States, and Vietnam.

Test Methods

This report examines a total of 6 test methods for TVs, finding that the largest differences between test methodologies exist among the largest markets most active in policy development (i.e. the EU, the US, and China). The study finds that two standards are most relevant to international harmonization efforts—the International Electrochemical Commission (IEC) 62087 method and China’s GB 24850-2013 method—and that greater harmonization between these testing approaches is essential to allowing future comparisons between products in China and other regions.

Other key findings related to TV test methodology include:

  • TV test methods need to constantly evolve due to the rapid rate of TV technology development, to ensure that testing results are representative of actual in-home energy consumption.
  • Sample preparation is key. Sample preparation (i.e. the way that TV settings are configured in preparation for testing) is the biggest disruptive influence that limits that comparability of energy test results across countries.
  • Some policy requirements add testing divergence. Key areas of policy that are related to testing and would benefit from greater harmonization include: i) illuminance levels used for testing a TV’s Automatic Brightness Control (ABC) feature, ii) incentives for ABC testing, and iii) approaches to peak luminance levels. 

Energy Performance Requirements

TV energy efficiency policies from 13 regions are analyzed, totaling over 70 different energy performance thresholds. Despite televisions everywhere being very similar in technology, this analysis reveals considerable global variation in TV energy efficiency policy. Several underlying reasons for these differences are identified, including: 

  • resource constraints among policymaking bodies;
  • limited availability of market assessments to support policymaking;
  • regional politics;
  • unaligned policy schedules or policy revision cycles; and
  • concerns that more stringent policies might negatively impact product availability and cost.

To advance greater policy harmonization around energy performance requirements for TVs, this study proposes a series of benchmark performance levels, which policymakers can use as a foundation for setting their own local policies and label schemes. In addition, this study recommends a number of resources that could assist policymakers to achieve cost effective efficiency improvements in TVs, including: 

  • Information on policy cost and potential savings, to support a shift toward the highest energy efficiency level that is feasible but not expected to occur in the absence of further policy action; and
  • Steps for applying this study’s benchmark performance levels in their region, supported by the provision of electronic tools and training. 

Despite the variation in energy performance requirements and test methodologies identified in this study, the authors none-the-less conclude that global harmonization of test methodologies, and even performance levels, could be made a reality within a few years.

This study was written by Stephen Fernandes, Catriona McAlister, Anson Wu, and Robert Harrison of Intertek Plc; Jeremy Tait of Tait Consulting; Keith Jones of Digital CEnergy Australia; and Anette Michel from Top Ten Europe. The project was funded by the Australian Government, with support from the SEAD initiative and CLASP.


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