Televisions consume a large portion of household electricity, up to 10% in fact. With consumers buying ever-larger screens and watching them for longer, consumption looks set to continue increasing.

Already, the energy use of all European TVs is as much as the residential electricity consumption of Sweden and Portugal combined.

Some TVs also include a number of hazardous substances, such as mercury, lead, and brominated flame retardants, which pose serious environmental and health threats when the product is used or discarded.

What’s the European Union doing?

Unambitious Ecodesign and energy labelling measures were adopted in 2009. Revision began in 2012, but was put on ice. In 2014 the weak standards were revived with pretty good new standards tabled by the European Commission. However, two years later, the Commission's proposal is stuck in the legislative funnel and the market is still regulated by the 2009 rules.  

What does the Coolproducts campaign want?

For the Energy Label:

  • Downgrade existing classes on the EU energy label by 2 or 3 places, since the vast majority of TVs already fall within the top class making fair comparison difficult. Alternatively, immediately enforce the use of the upper classes (A+, A++, A+++), originally planned for 2020.

For Ecodesign requirements:

  • New requirements should be introduced between 2014 and 2018. A first new tier should exclude TVs below today's B class on the energy label, and the second exclude those below A+ class. More stringent requirements by 2020 could set minimum requirements corresponding to the current A++ or A+++ energy classes.
  • Ecodesign requirements on other environmental aspects;  The inclusion of:
    • Information for consumers (i.e. mandatory declaration by manufacturers) about materials used; disassembly instructions; content of hazardous substances; eco-profiling data; expected product lifetime; lifecycle energy and CO2 emissions.
    • Minimum requirements on marking of plastics, recyclability rate of plastic material above 80% and a ban on mercury content.
    • Expansion of the Ecodesign requirements to monitors and other displays with the same minimum energy performance requirements as TVs
    • Increase the focus on energy sufficiency and reinforce drivers towards low energy consuming products, thus making it more difficult for the largest TVs to achieve the highest energy label rankings.

Coolproducts' technical input and position papers are available below

2017 - Position paper on Commission proposal for Energy Label on displays & amendments to the Ecodesign draft submitted to the WTO

2017 - Feedback on the revised Ecodesign Working document

2015 - Contribution to the European Commission revised working document

2012 - Contribution to the Discussion paper on the review of the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations for televisions

Further reading:

Assessment of the energy label for TVs from Topten Europe