wireless modemA groundbreaking consumer electronics energy efficiency agreement among U.S. ISPs is paying dividends across U.S. society, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). Nearly 90 percent of home Internet modems, routers and other consumer electronic (CE) equipment bought in 2015 met new, rigorous voluntary energy efficiency standards, according to CTA and NCTA.

The voluntary consumer electronics energy efficiency agreement covers home Internet modems, routers, and other equipment spanning some 78.5 million residential Internet service subscribers accounting for 87.4 percent of the U.S. market.

CTA and NCTA lead the Small Network Equipment (SNE) Voluntary Agreement initiative, which was modeled along the lines of an earlier, successful agreement covering TV set-top boxes (STBs). Leading small network equipment retailers and ISPs that deliver broadband services to residential customers signed the agreement in June 2015, agreeing to achieve a goal that 90 percent of the SNE bought and sold by them would meet new, rigorous energy effiency standards.

Consumer Electronics Energy Efficiency
AT&T/DIRECTV, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter/Time Warner Cable/Bright House Networks, Comcast, Cox and Verizon number among the ISPs that signed the voluntary consumer electronics energy efficiency agreement. SNE vendors Actiontec, ARRIS, Cisco, D-Link, EchoStar Technologies, Netgear, Pace and Ubee Interactive also signed on.

The aim is to conserve energy and contribute to a global effort to slow the pace of climate change by achieving ongoing gains in the energy efficiency of digital small network equipment.

An independent audit conducted by D+R International revealed that 89.6 percent of service providers’ purchases and vendors’ retail sales of SNE in 2015 met voluntary energy efficiency agreement standards. That’s just a tad shy of a  target calling for 90 percent by January 1, 2016.

Seven of the 11 reporting signatories have been able to meet the 90 percent commitment at this early stage of implementation. D+R also found that average energy usage of the SNE bought and sold by member companies in 2015 was 18 percent lower than that for other current models on the market.

“This is a significant accomplishment, bolstering our mutual interest in a commitment to reducing the energy footprint of the growing number of plug-load devices used by consumers,” commented Professor G.P. Li, Director of the California Plug Load Research Center at the University of California Irvine. “We anticipate this consortium’s effort will continue to realize valuable savings.”

Other notable 2015 developments include:

  • Disclosure of Energy Efficiency Information to Consumers. Energy information about all models purchased or sold at retail by signatories in 2015 has been made available to consumers at a new website, www.energy-efficiency.us, and on the signatories’ websites to provide more transparency and information to consumers, regulators and other stakeholders and in accordance with the signatories’ commitments under the Agreement to provide reasonable access to such information to consumers.
  • Verification Testing. The independent auditor randomly selected one model from each signatory’s annual report to be independently tested by an accredited third-party lab or under the supervision of an accredited third-party observer. The auditor reported that these independent lab verification results for all of the equipment models tested confirmed that idle mode energy usage was at or below the levels reported by the signatories.
  • Random Audit. The Voluntary Agreement requires the independent auditor to randomly select one signatory for a comprehensive audit of the data submitted in its annual report. D+R International determined that the audited signatory data was consistent with its annual report.