Appliances in standby mode can continue consuming a surprising amount of energy, raising household electricity bills by up to 10 percent.

Despite technological progress, products still waste too much in standby, or even off mode. In addition, more and more products are becoming ‘networked’ - constantly connected to the internet, driving up electricity consumption.

Wasted electricity from standby modes across the EU amounts to some 40 TWh per year, equivalent to the entire domestic electricity consumption of Sweden. There are now more and more networked devices, that use more energy than normal standby to remain constantly connected.

What’s the European Union doing?

A first EU Ecodesign regulation on simple stand-by and off modes (1275/2008) was passed in 2008. A legal amendment to the existing standby regulation, introducing networked standby requirements was published in 2013. Both are currently being reviewed.  The first stage of the networked standby ecodesign requirements, (so called “Tier 1”), entered into force January 2015, tier 2 in January 2017 and Tier 3 in 2019, bringing about the greatest improvements and related energy savings from these products.

From 2015, the default time for the automatic power down to stand-by mode in products is reduced from 1 hour to 20 minutes. Additionally, users are given the possibility to deactivate most network connections, and the boundary between products requiring high and low network availability has been refined, so that only a limited number of products can benefit from higher allowances.

Moreover, the amendment on networked standby also introduced stricter standby limits for TVs, and included power management requirements for coffee machines. The expected savings potential is 36 TWh annually by 2020, equivalent to the electricity produced by 10 large sized coal power plants (500MW), lowering energy bills by €6 billion. 

What does the Coolproducts campaign want? 

  • The current review should focus on the standby and networked standby consumption of professional and commercial equipment. Tremendous energy savings potential is presumably hiding there and there is no evident technical justification why domestic products should be regulated and not professional and commercial products.
  • We think that the Commission could apply more stringent requirements in the future, as the best products on the market already reach very low standby levels. Households are equipped with dozens of energy-using products and the energy savings, as well as the related money savings are expected to be consequent.
  • The ongoing review is also the right opportunity to make sure that the existing standby requirements are applied in a consistent way, including for left-on and delayed start modes.

Coolproducts' technical input and position papers:

2018 - Position on standby and networked standby proposals

2015 - Comments on the preparatory study for the review of the Ecodesign Regulation

2015 - Technical input to review study: Exploring the potential for standby requirements on professional products

Further reading: