External power supplies

External power supplies

Nearly every IT product requires a power adapter or charger to convert plug power to a lower voltage (so-called “external power supply” or EPS). In recent years, the explosion in the number of electronic devices requiring an EPS has led to a growing waste of electricity, as well as a wasteful substantial material surplus in our homes.

Even if a single EPS wastes relatively little electricity to convert power and when in standby mode, the cumulative impact of hundreds of millions of chargers and adapters becomes substantial. The total is estimated at approximately 15 TWh/year of electricity.

What’s the European Union doing?

An ecodesign regulation on external power supplies focusing on electricity losses was adopted in 2009, leading to yearly savings of 9 TWh annually, equivalent to the residential electricity consumption of Ireland. 

A review of this regulation was adopted in 2019 with new levels of energy efficiency requirements set from April 2020.

What does the Coolproducts campaign want?

  • A bold action to impose a standard and universal inter-operability of power supplies and chargers, to hinder their proliferation;

  • Energy efficiency requirements not only at no-load and average load conditions, but also in low power modes (so-called “10% load active efficiency”);

  • The addition of wireless chargers to the scope of the regulation;

  • Material efficiency requirements to increase the lifetime and reduce the environmental burden of these devices.

Coolproducts technical input and position papers:

2018 - Final recommendations on EPS

2015 - Position on the updated Draft Commission Regulation on External Power Supplies

2013 - Position on the review of the Ecodesign regulation on external power supplies