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Brussels, 26 September 2008

Member States endorse Commission proposals to reduce electricity consumption

Today at the meeting of the Ecodesign Regulatory Committee EU Member States endorsed the European Commission's proposals for two regulations aimed at reducing the electricity consumption in Europe. The first one targets office, industrial and street lighting products while the second affects the devices that convert digital TV signals to analogue signals, known as simple set-top boxes for televisions. "These measures are concrete contributions to reach the EU's energy efficiency targets. Once they are in place they will significantly reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and foreign dependency in a cost effective manner", said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

The first measure targets lighting products typically used in street, office and industrial lighting: fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps and related ballasts and luminaires. The regulation will reduce by up to 15% the electricity consumption of this equipment in the EU, which is assumed to rise to 260 TWh per year by 2020 without legislation. The annual savings are equal to 38 TWh (roughly the annual electrictity consumption of Romania) and would lead to approximately 15 Mt CO2 emission reduction per year.

The second measure aims at reducing the energy consumption of simple set-top boxes which are used to convert digital broadcasting signals into analogue signals suitable for TV sets commonly used in EU households. Due to the ongoing transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in the EU, the sales and associated energy consumption of these devices will sky-rocket over the coming years. The power consumption limits laid out in the regulation will allow reduction from 14 TWh to 5 TWh by 2014 when the use of simple set-top boxes will peak. By 2020, when these devices disappear from the market as old TV sets are replaced by new ones, adapted to digital broadcasting, 47 TWh should be saved, this exceeds the annual electricity generation from nuclear power in Finland and Slovakia combined. The measure will also translate into concrete benefits for the consumer reducing the life-cycle cost of these devices by approximately 30%.

The regulations will now be scrutinised by the European Parliament. They are scheduled for formal adoption by the Commission in January 2009. Further Eco-design measures will follow in the coming months to cover more product groups such as lamps used in the domestic sector.

Further information on Ecodesign is available here.

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