Will Energy Star tie TVs to occupancy sensors?

It could happen.

The Environmental Protection Agency is revising its Energy Star criteria for flat-screen TVs because more than a third of the current generation of boob tubes already meet efficiency standards. So the Agency figures it's time to raise the bar. The new efficiency levels for TVs would be part of Energy Star Version 6.0, due for publication in April and scheduled to take effect in early 2013.

Drafts of the new version tighten up the amount of power TVs can consume in the ON mode, though it should be noted that some TVs already consume less than the new proposed limits. TVs also get tested in their lowest power consumption stand-by mode (must be less than 1 W) and in data acquisition mode, where they download channel listings, watch for emergency messages, or communicate over some kind of network (must be below 0.04 kWh/day).

The new version also adopts DoE’s Automatic Brightness Control (ABC) test procedure that is currently under development. Basically both EPA and the DoE want to measure on-mode power with ABC enabled by default. The idea is to run tests under conditions that are representative of how consumers will actually use the sets. Tests would determine on-mode power in a different way for TVs with enabled ABC.

Interestingly, it looks as though the EPA may build use of power management functions -- such as occupancy sensors, proximity sensors, and timer functions -- into future versions of Energy Star TV specs. It specifically says, "EPA understands that manufacturers are developing and implementing innovative power management functions for Televisions such as occupancy sensors, proximity sensors or timer functions. As additional information about these technologies becomes available, EPA is exploring ways to encourage use of such measures in ENERGY STAR Televisions. Therefore, EPA seeks additional information about these functions, their savings, and projected market presence."

Details of the upcoming Energy Star specs are available on the EPA site:

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