After several drafts and some weeks of delay in the development process, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published its final ENERGY STAR® Energy Efficiency Standards for Displays and Televisions (both in version 6.0). The delays were caused by the strong interest in the standard and the feedback received by the EPA.
Taking a look at the scope, a testing standard can be found for nearly every display application. This applies to ordinary televisions, computer monitors, digital picture frames, rear projection TVs, and digital signage displays, amongst others. Roughly speaking, each unit with a television tuner integrated and a screen size larger than 15 inches will need to qualify according to the set of requirements for televisions. Other display units with a screen diagonal of up to 61 inches will have to qualify according to the displays standard.
In its new “Partner Commitments,” the EPA goes one step further in regards to environmental awareness, requiring ENERGY STAR® compliant products to also meet basic RoHS standards. This concerns lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), where a limit of 0.1% cannot be exceeded, as well as cadmium, with a limit of 0.01%. Recyclability is also requisite. However, 3rd-party evaluation in regard to these requirements is not currently foreseen.
Let’s have a look at the limits and test methods:
Generally, for the Display and TV standards the EPA recognizes technological advancements, including that televisions as well as displays nowadays incorporate more functions than simply presenting images and sound. Certain allowances for network- and hub-functions are thus given.
While for Televisions, generally speaking, the standby-mode limit (resp. sleep mode) of 1W did not change, for displays the standby and off mode requirements were reduced to 0.5W. For Displays there are some allowances if integrated bridging or network capabilities are present. Allowances also are granted in on-mode for such enhanced performance functionalities as high resolution (>2.3MPixel), big color gamut, and high contrast ratios.
Some significant changes were made in regards to Auto Brightness Control (so-called ABC). The EPA is clearly continuing to incentivize the use of ABC as a way of increasing energy savings. To reduce the impact of different light sources on measurement results, the EPA now requires a 980 lumen ±5% incandescent halogen flood reflector lamp to generate the artificial illumination for the detector. In comparison to previous ENERGY STAR® standards, where only 2 illumination levels needed to be checked, additional points are introduced. The new regulation is an attempt to align ENERGY STAR® with DOE rules. For Displays, 10lx as well as 300lx must be checked, and for Television sets 0lx, 10lx, 50lx, 100lx, as well as 300lx. Additionally, for televisions, the effectiveness of the ABC must be verified.
With publication of the standards, the EPA named the following dates, which are important for scheduling:
• Beginning immediately, certification can be applied for in accordance with the latest version of both standards via TÜV Rheinland ENERGY STAR® testing laboratories and ENERGY STAR® Certification Body.
• After 15 Jan. 2013 no certifications can be granted according to the older versions of the ENERGY STAR® standards.
• Displays and Televisions manufactured after 01 Jun 2013 must comply with ENERGY STAR® Version 6.0.
Standard updates are not required for models for which manufacturing will stop before 01 Jun 2013. For other models, TÜV Rheinland as certification body will issue a confirmation letter showing compliance with the latest version of the standard after compliance can be proven with a valid test report.
Many other standards make reference to ENERGY STAR®. For example, TCO Development based the energy requirements of its “TCO certified Displays 6.0” standard on ENERGY STAR® Display. For the transition dates, TCO is following the EPA, to give manufacturers the least burdensome approach.
In other words, from 15 Jan. 2013 laboratories are required to test according to ENERGY STAR® 6.0. TCO, however, will accept certification reports based on older requirements until 01 Jun. 2013. Such tests according to old requirements must be performed before 15 Jan. 2013.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact TÜV Rheinland.