Key issue: It is a matter of fact that consumers, both individual and commercial, are now using network-enabled devices on a daily basis and its quantity in our daily routine is permanently increasing. Network connectivity is becoming a “must have” attribute of those devices that we would hardly ever think of being connected to the network a couple of years ago. Smart TVs, washing machines, refrigerators and lights are to name a few. Along with new functionality and user experience network-enabled devices imply increased energy consumption, as they must be permanently switched on to maintain network connection. The quantity of electricity consumed by such network-enabled device is relatively moderate though its wide penetration and common use makes its cumulative effect on energy consumption.

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Energy efficiency aspect: Most of the electricity is used when devices are not actually performing its primary function but merely maintaining network connectivity / waiting for network signals. Up to 80% of the electricity that some devices use goes to maintaining network connectivity. The main reason is that current network communication protocols require devices to be on and responsive in order to remain a part of the network (International Energy Agency, More Data Less energy, 2014).

Regulatory aspect: Some technologically advanced jurisdictions such as Republic of Korea, European Union and United States have already introduced relevant regulatory framework to address the matter of standby energy efficiency. On the one side it looks quite obvious that adequate regulatory environment appears to be the most effective driver to introduce energy efficient solutions for network-enabled devices. On another point however certain major players on technology market believe that introduction of regulatory specifications would restrain technological progress since regulatory framework is not normally developing with the same pace as technology does.

Key global Energy Efficiency programs

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Standby Energy Efficiency: Global Regulatory landscape

European Union

  • The EU is the first jurisdiction in the world to develop a policy specifically targeting network standby. Ecodesign Regulation 1275/2008/EC includes both power management and minimum energy efficiency requirements, inter alia
    • All devices are required to power down within 20 minutes of stopping their primary function; and
    • All devices must be able to deactivate wireless network ports. When all network ports are deactivated i.e. the device is no longer network‑enabled, then standby power consumption (if any), must be less than 0.5 W;
  • Ecodesign Regulation 1275/2008/EC is phasing the policy in over several years with multiple tiers to reflect that its implementation for some devices might be technically complicated and therefore require additional time.

In addition to Ecodesign Regulation 1275/2008/EC EU is addressing the efficiency of network‑enabled devices and other complex device categories through voluntary industry agreements and codes of conduct that specifically cover those device categories (including  set‑top boxes (STB), Imaging equipment, Medical imaging equipment, External power supplies (EPS), broadband equipment).

Korea

  • Korea’s energy efficiency labeling and certification scheme includes:
    • The Energy Efficiency Standards & Labelling Program, introduced in 1992, encompassing mandatory minimum energy performance requirements covering 35 device categories; and
    • Voluntary High‑efficiency Appliance Certification Program covers 41 device categories; and
    • e‑Standby Program (mandatory);
  • Korea’s e‑Standby Program uses a device‑by‑device approach to set network standby limits for 11 target electronic edge devices, based on a combination of power limits:
    • total energy consumption, including sleep mode, transition time and off mode for computers, printers, fax machines, copiers, multi‑function devices; and
    • specified transition times and power limits for modes (or a set of modes).
  • An additional 11 devices have power limits for passive standby mode and idle mode.
  • Korea’s standards and labeling program uses a differentiated approach to setting minimum limits. Devices that do not meet the standby power limits cannot be rated above level 2 on the scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the most efficient.

US

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) together with US Department of Energy (DoE) have set up voluntarily program titled as ENERGY STAR.
  • ENERGY STAR has been initiated as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy efficient products and began with labels for computer and printer products. In 1995 the program was significantly expanded, introducing labels for residential heating and cooling systems and new homes.
  • ENERGY STAR specifications differ with each product, and are set by either the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Energy.
  • ENERGY STAR energy efficiency policy focuses on total energy consumption and takes network standby efficiency into account in terms of promoting network connection with the lowest power possible. Consideration is paid to offsetting active modes with standby modes and incentivizing lower power budgets for the device as a whole.
  • Network connectivity specifications are typically based on total energy consumption: i.e. annual consumption, incorporating consumption in on mode (or idle in the case of personal computers), standby mode (for select devices) and off mode.
  • Currently, devices for which ENERGY STAR sets out specifications to address network connectivity include audio/visual equipment, game consoles, televisions, set‑top boxes, servers, computers, imaging equipment, digital television and displays.

Regulatory framework of Energy Efficiency in Ukraine: Regulatory framework in the area of energy efficiency of consumer electronics in Ukraine is formed by several Technical regulations adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, including in particular:

  • Technical Regulations on Energy Labeling of Energy Consuming Products;
  • Technical Regulations on Energy Labeling of Household Electric Refrigerators;
  • Technical Regulations on Energy Labeling of Household Washing Machines;
  • Technical Regulations on Energy Labeling of Electric Lamps;
  • Technical Regulations on Maximum Energy Consumption by the Refrigerating Equipment;

Technical Regulations on Energy Labeling provide for detailed requirements of how the device is to be tested for energy consumption and labeled accordingly. The only Technical Regulations that establish minimum energy efficiency requirements relate to refrigerating equipment. Thus in particular starting from July 2014 refrigerating equipment (excluding vine coolers) having energy efficiency index lower than A+ will not be allowed on Ukrainian market.

As might be judged from the above Ukrainian regulatory focus is shifted towards providing consumer an opportunity to make an informed and responsible choice rather than disqualifying certain devices from Ukrainian market based on the level of its energy efficiency.