State Studying How to Make Consumer Electronics More Efficient

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The California Energy Commission is considering requiring some appliances and consumer electronics to operate more efficiently. The agency is looking at new standards for a wide range of devices, from computers and game consoles to toilets. 

The California Energy Commission has regulated appliance efficiency since the 1970s; it has jurisdiction over both energy and water use. 
Commissioner Andrew McAllister says the rules are good for the economy, and for the environment.
"They save consumers money. We only put in place regulations that are cost-effective in the sense that they save much more energy and money than they cost to implement," McAllister says. "And they also are a key component of helping California achieve its climate goals."
The state is currently gathering information and asking for comments on rules for cable boxes and air filters, among other things. In 2012 California introduced standards for televisions and for battery chargers for phones and laptops.
McAllister says devices that are plugged into the wall -- rather than, say, a water heater or built-in lighting -- are an increasingly large part of our energy use, known as "plug load."
"Plug loads in particular are a key component of our electric consumption, and so an obvious place we would go for energy savings," he says.
McAllister says the Department of Energy often follows California's example for federal standards.