The California Energy Commission approved the U.S. first energy efficiency standards for televisions.

When these standards are implemented in 2011, new TVs sold in California will be the most energy efficient in the nation, as the commission claims.

After ten years, the commission estimates the regulations will save $8.1 billion in energy costs and save enough energy to power 864,000 single-family homes.

The technology neutral standards mandate that new televisions sold in California should consume 33 percent less electricity by 2011 and 49 percent less electricity by 2013. The standards affect only those TVs with a screen size 58 inches or smaller.

For example, a 42-inch screen would consume 183 watts or less by 2011 and 115 watts or less by 2013. Pacific Gas & Electric estimates that over a decade the standards will reduce CO2 emissions by three million metric tons.

More than 1,000 TV models on the market today already meet the 2011 standards and cost no more than less efficient sets. The regulations will not affect existing televisions that consumers already own or the TVs currently on retail store shelves.

Stores will not be prohibited from selling existing stock of older televisions after the standards go into effect.

California’s per capita electricity use has remained flat for the past 30 years compared to the rest of the nation which has increased its energy consumption by 40 percent.

"The real winners of these new TV energy efficiencies are California consumers who will be saving billions of dollars and conserving energy while preserving their choice to buy any size or type of TV," said Energy Commission Chairman Karen Douglas.

California was recently named the nation’s most energy efficient state by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The Energy Commission began working on TV energy efficiency standards in January 2007. Since then, the Commission’s staff collaborated with a variety of stakeholders including major statewide utility companies, the environmental community, TV industry groups and retailers, and consumer groups in an open public process to develop these regulations.

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