Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Can a standby label cut power consumption?

01.12.2005


Everybody complains about high energy prices. And yet it’s so easy to save electricity – simply by switching off electrical appliances completely, rather than leaving them ’idling’ in standby mode. The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI has been investigating possible ways of raising consumers’ awareness of the energy they waste by leaving appliances switched on.



In a single year, the electrical equipment in German households and offices consumed an estimated 18 billion kilowatt-hours of power while switched to standby mode. That corresponds to almost the entire output of all the wind turbines producing electricity in Germany. Many consumer electronics devices take over 50 percent of their total power consumption in standby mode. “A set-top box for receiving digital TV, which will soon be an essential item in almost every household, consumes about eight watts in standby mode, day in, day out,“ remarks Barbara Schlomann of the ISI.

That doesn’t sound much, but when you add it up over a whole year, it comes to somewhere around 54 kilowatt-hours. Multiply that by the approximately 60 million TVs in Germany, and you arrive at a figure of over three billion kilowatt-hours. Little is likely to change between 2004, the year that was studied, and 2015 with respect to the huge waste of power due to appliances running on standby.


Although manufacturers have started to implement technical improvements in certain types of equipment, such as PCs and TVs, the savings here are almost entirely canceled out by the simultaneous increase in the number of appliances and the introduction of new products. This was the conclusion of a new study conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in Karlsruhe on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour.

The Fraunhofer researchers were given the task of investigating whether this unnecessary consumption of electricity could by reduced through the use of a “standby label“ affixed to electrical appliances, showing for instance how much power the unit consumes in standby mode and when in off mode but still connected to the power supply. The latter state is all the more deceptive in that the equipment appears to be switched off but is in fact still consuming a small amount of electricity. The potential savings are huge: around nine million kilowatt-hours per annum could be economized if the most efficient technologies were applied, according to calculations by the Research Institute for Energy Economy FfE in Munich.

There would appear to be no legal impediment to the introduction of a compulsory labeling scheme, even on a unilateral, national, basis, according to the institute’s project partners at the Dresden University of Technology.

The study compiled by the ISI experts includes suggestions concerning the content of labels for use on items of electrical equipment and their sales packaging. The scientists are not in favor of using a classification scheme that rates energy efficiency from A to G, like the stickers commonly seen on refrigerators or washing machines, because most of these white goods only consume energy when they are actually in use. Instead, the ISI researchers propose that the markings employed on smaller appliances – such as personal computers, printers, TVs, set-top boxes, espresso machines – ought to show their standby consumption in watts, and furthermore their consumption when switched off but not unplugged from the power supply – the “leaking electricity“. The study also mentions alternatives to this kind of labeling: a voluntary code of practice for manufacturers, minimum energy efficiency standards, a ban on equipment that draws energy when apparently switched off, and enhancements to existing labeling schemes such as Energy Star or the EU Eco-Label.

Bernd Müller | alfa
Further information:
http://www.isi.fraunhofer.de/e/eng/projekte/169-e.htm

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Producing electricity during flight
20.09.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene
19.09.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>