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Do Europe's televisions have the right energy labels?

•    ComplianTV tests over 170 sets for energy efficiency
•    Research into how TVs are labelled in shops
•    Some concern over developments in more hi-tec models

Variety of models for television setsEnergy labelling on TVs is a relatively new thing, having only been introduced in 2010. There are already strong signs that it's pushing the market to higher overall levels of energy efficiency. Nonetheless, it's always worth doing some independent checks to test progress. 

ComplianTV was a European research project that wrapped up at the end of last year, which set out to do just that. TenFive partners, including Energy Saving Trust in the UK, looked at how energy labelling requirements and eco-design regulations for TVs were working in real life. 

Top viewing?

It seems it's a case of so far, so good. Assistant Certification Manager at EST, Stewart Muir, explained, “For the first part, we tested 172 TV sets to see if they were meeting what was declared on their energy label. The good news here is that all the TVs we tested did meet expectations on energy rating. 

“There was were still some that didn't comply with other metrics, such as the requirement for them to power down after a period of inactivity by default, peak luminance and having proper documentation. But overall, we found nothing of major concern.”

 

On the shop floor

The other part of the programme saw visits to 100 shops - twice - to see how well TVs were being labelled. Stewart said, “On first visits, we found that 68% were labelled correctly. After some communication with retailers – which a number responded very positively to – we saw an improvement the second time we visited. There was now 78% correct labelling.”

What now for TV energy consumption?

The project made some recommendations to European policy-makers, including around standardising the testing initially done to determine the energy ratings on labels, especially around things like automatic power down, TV volume levels and brightness settings. 

There is some concern that developments such Ultra HD TVs, network connectivity and quick-start modes – which consume a lot more power – might undo some of the ecodesign improvements. 

Stewart added, “ComplianTV has given us a good story of how well ecodesign and energy labelling is working for TVs. But things can't rest there. Regulation needs to stay up to date as technology improves, and it needs to be monitored over time to ensure the gains made so far don't slip.”
 

The project's legacy is an open product database, where you can see how well each TV performed. Read our advice on the energy consumption across a range of home appliances gadgets. 

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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