Monitor standards to become mandatory

Power consumption labels on monitors could become compulsory next year

Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for computer monitors issued in draft jointly by Australian and New Zealand standards bodies are eventually to be made mandatory after a standards document is finalised.

Labelling standards giving visible notification of power consumption will initially be voluntary but “expected to migrate to a mandatory scheme” around April next year.

“Following [finalising of the standard] and allowing for any necessary amendments to be made, EECA [the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority] will seek permission of government to implement the standards into regulation,” says EECA spokeswoman [communications advisor] Erika Harrison. “These will not be implemented any earlier than April 2013, and will align with implementation in Australia.”

In New Zealand, given government approval, regulations forbidding the manufacture or import of non-compliant equipment will be promulgated under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000.

“Essentially no one who manufactures in New Zealand or imports into New Zealand the products identified in Schedule 1 and/or 2 is allowed to sell them in New Zealand unless the product complies with the relevant energy performance standards and/or relevant standards for mandatory energy performance labelling,” the standard document proposes. EECA must also have seen evidence by way of an application form that the product complies, according to the document.

The draft standard gives several formulae relating the maximum consumption when the monitor is turned of, turned on and in standby or “sleep” mode to such factors as screen size and resolution.

Very large or high-resolution displays, digital photo frames and displays used only for advertising will be exempted from the standard now in draft, but they are also likely to have standards imposed on them in time.

“When the MEPS were developed [beginning last year], smaller monitors for computers dominated the market,” Harrison says. Since then, there has been a trend for large electronic displays in shops, and increased demand for larger displays. To catch up with this trend, proposed MEPS for electronic displays and larger monitors are planned for the future.”

EECA expects most imported monitors to have little trouble meeting the standard. “With ongoing improvements in technology and awareness of the impending standard, it is expected most monitors currently being imported for sale will have much improved energy performance and so will have no difficulty complying,” Harrison says.

“By way of comparison, the proposed standard aligns with Energy Star levels in the USA, where around 95 percent of all monitors are meeting the Energy Star specification.”

Deadline for comments to be submitted on the draft standard is September 6.

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