The One Watt Initiative goes global

posted by Joshua Lang

Lacking exact figures, a major survey placed the proportion of standby power used at 5% in the United States, with 7% in France, 10% in Germany and the Netherlands and 12% in Japan. In response to this waste, the International Energy Agency introduced the One Watt Initiative, in order to reduce vampire power to a maximum of one watt internationally.

According to the IEA's estimates, standby power is in fact responsible for 1% of global CO2 emissions.

New generations of power transformers and sensors are being developed to respond to this problematic, but require the appropriate legislation to take a foothold. The Energy Star program iniated in the USA already strives toward this objective, but in the private sector. Executive Order 13221 issued in 2001 by George W. Bush, however, necessitates that every government agency "when it purchases commercially available, off-the-shelf products that use external standby power devices, or that contain an internal standby power function, shall purchase products that use no more than one watt in their standby power consuming mode."

South Korea and Australia, on the other hand, have implemented measures fully enforcing the one watt benchmark for all new electrical devices. Meanwhile, notable progress is being made throughout the European Union, as the so-called Ecodesign regulation was put into place in 2008 to limit maximum allowed power consumption for standby to either 1 or 2 watts in 2010. From 2013 on, the level will be lowered to 0.5 or 1 watt.