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Standby Power

Initiatives to Reduce Standby Power Consumption

Canada's Initiatives

  • In October of 2006, the Government of Canada published a Notice of Intent to regulate air emissions. This led to the issuing of the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, which stated Canada's intent to regulate Standby Power.
  • Canada has adopted a new test method for measuring Standby Power; CAN/CSA-62301:07.
  • In 2007, Canada commissioned a study to measure the Standby Power of consumer electronic products on the shelves of Canadian retail stores. Twenty five product categories, amounting to almost 900 individual products were measured.
  • A proposed Amendment to the Canadian Energy Efficiency Regulations will require Standby Power limits for Compact Audio Products, Televisions and Video Products.
  • Currently some appliances already incorporate Standby Power requirements into their energy consumption limits. These include Dishwashers, Stoves and Portable Air Conditioners.
  • All new Canadian test standards that involve the measurement of electricity consumption now consider the measurement of Standby Power in the test procedures.
  • Canada participates in the ENERGY STAR program, directed by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency.
  • Canada is a member of the North American Energy Working Group, along with Mexico and the United States, working to harmonize their efforts to limit Standby Power consumption.
  • Canada is active with the Asia Pacific Partnership and the International Energy Agency, participating in studies to measure and better understand Standby Power.

The proposed Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) regulation on Standby Power focuses on different product categories. Canada is proposing a two-tiered approach, with the first tier being limits set on Standby Power for each category expected to come into effect in July 1, 2010. The second tier will come into effect in January 2013, which will have more stringent Standby Power limits. The proposed Federal NRCan regulation is harmonized with California for the Tier 1 standards and Europe for the Tier 2 standards. Canada is exploring the possibility of using horizontal regulation (all products using Standby Power would be required to meet a minimum energy performance standard, exceptions would be granted where required). Horizontal regulation is recommended by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The following table shows the power levels being considered for each tier:

Product Type Tier 1 Standby Power Limit Tier 2 Standby Power Limit
Compact Audio 3W 1W
Televisions 4W 1W
Video Equipment 3W 1W

To stay up to date with NRCan's Energy Efficiency Regulations, please visit:

Intention of Proposed Standby Regulation

To reduce the consumption of energy that products use when:

  1. They are not performing their primary function, but are "waiting" to be reactivated to that function. Examples are timers, remote controls, remote signals, internal sensors.
  2. They are displaying some form of product status or the time (ex. Indicator lights, clocks, status displays).
  3. They require a sensor to function (thermostat, motion detector).

Environmental Benefits of the Proposal Regulation

The adoption of a 1 watt policy on Standby Power for the majority of electronics means substantial energy savings

Electricity Cost
Reduction of GHGs
(Mt of CO2e)
National Estimates, assuming all household appliances are similar to the  products tested in 2007 $497 -
National Estimates assuming all appliances consume 1W. $133 -
Savings $364 1.8

International Initiatives to Reduce Standby Power Consumption

  • Australia
    • National One-Watt target for all products by 2012/13 for electronic appliances and equipment.
  • China
    • Includes standby criteria in the endorsement label for a number of products such as TVs, DVDs, printers, and copiers. The program is closely aligned with International Energy Star and many products and criteria are similar. In addition, a mandatory procurement policy for government departments and local authorities was adopted in 2007.
  • The European Union
    • Passed the Ecodesign Directive in 2005 which establishes procedures to set minimum (efficiency) standards for energy using products.
    • Standby Power regulation came into effect January 2010, and will become more stringent in 2013
    • Also has a label similar to the ENERGUIDE label
  • India
    • Already has a star labelling program launched for refrigerators, air-conditioners, fluorescent tubular lamps and distribution transformers. More products are being added to the basket every year.
  • Korea
    • An expanding range of electronics must have a mandatory warning label ("Energy Boy" Program) if it does not meet stringent Standby Power standards. A voluntary energy saving label may be added for the electronics that meet the standby standard. Korea's constant drive to introduce new policies and measures, targeting specific problems posed by excessive Standby Power consumption, has made it the world leader.
  • Japan
    • Effectively regulates Standby Power through the Top Runner program. There are currently 7 product categories which include standby requirements in the overall energy performance targets. In addition, there are a range of voluntary agreements in place with industry to minimize Standby Power consumption to 1 watt or less.
  • Taiwan
    • Is currently implementing the first phase of its Standby Power to 2 watts for DVD players, desktop PCS, integrated stereos, microwave ovens, set-top boxes, ADSL modems and digital TVs. The second phase aims to introduce regulations that require electronic devices to meet 1 watt in Standby mode by 2012.
  • United States
    • The US Department of Energy is working on national regulations for a range of appliances and home electronics equipment that will include Standby Power. The approach is a vertical one: test procedures that include Standby Power are developed, and subsequent standards will set criteria for total energy consumption.
  • International Energy Agency
    • The IEA is an organisation which acts as energy policy advisor  to 28 member countries. In 1999, the IEA proposed that all countries harmonise energy policies to reduce Standby Power, setting the target at 1 Watt per device. In 2005, the IEA 1 Watt target was endorsed by the G8 leaders.