Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Can a standby label cut power consumption?


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:

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Did you know that specialty light sources are being used for water analysis?
22.03.2018 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

nachricht Neutrons pave the way to accelerated production of lithium-ion cells
20.03.2018 | Technische Universität München

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: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>