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Standby electricity proposal: a clear step toward greener products in Europe

09 July 2008
by eub2 -- last modified 09 July 2008

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Europe's largest federation of environmental citizens' groups, welcomes national governments' support for a European Commission proposal to cut electricity losses from the standby mode of electrical appliances for a broad range of products.


The regulation voted yesterday in Brussels by a Regulatory Committee is the first to be taken within the Ecodesign of Energy-using Products (EuP) Directive, based on 'implementing measures' designed to improve the green performance of appliances and ban the worst performing products from the EU market.

Doreen Fedrigo, EEB Policy Unit Coordinator, said, "We are pleased to finally see the EuP Directive delivering concrete results. This measure to cut energy losses from stand-by was long overdue and represents a clear, if small, first step toward greener products in Europe."

High levels of stand-by and off-mode power lead to electricity waste when the appliances are not in use. These losses are estimated to account for more than 10% of total electricity use in homes and offices in the EU. An ambitious measure to limit stand-by and off-mode consumption could save up to 80 terra watt hours (TWh) of electricity per year in the EU (equivalent to the energy generated by 11 power stations). Unfortunately; the measure voted upon yesterday excludes half of the potential (so-called "networked" or "active" stand-by modes), but could still save 35 TWh of electricity yearly.

EEB also supports the indications that a mandatory "hard-off switch" may be considered inĀ  future EuP measures; which would allow consumers to switch their equipment completely off, thus saving even more energy.

While EEB is pleased to see that Member States endorsed the Commission's tiered approach for reducing stand-by energy losses, additional product-based measures will be needed to tackle the issue of the increasing scarcity of natural resources.

"To foster the overall environmental performance of appliances, we expect that Ecodesign will continue with renewed ambition, addressing all environmental aspects and not only energy use," Doreen Fedrigo added.

The adopted measure must now pass through European Parliament scrutiny before it can enter into force.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is a federation of over 145 environmental citizens' organisations based in most EU Member States and accession countries. EEB's aim is to protect and improve Europe's environment and to enable its citizens to play a part in achieving that goal.

European Environmental Bureau