By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
At a time when energy issues are on the minds of consumers and politicians, Energy Star unveiled its energy-efficiency program for telephone products.
Panasonic, TT Systems, Uniden and VTech (including its AT&T brand) have signed on as charter partners with the program, and some have already begun marketing the Energy Star label beginning this year.
The program, managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with support from the U.S. Department of Energy, sets energy efficiency standards for consumer electronics products. Conforming products wear an Energy Star label that lets consumers identify energy-efficient electronics.
Under the new telephone program, the label will appear on home and SOHO corded and cordless phones, caller ID boxes and answering machines.
Energy Star phones on the market include TT Systems's new Gold and Platinum lines of 2.4GHz analog phones (under the PhoneMate brand); Uniden's EXP, EXA and EXT line of 2.4GHz DSS; and VTech's new 2400 line of 2.4GHz DSS phones (except the 2481).
Panasonic plans to certify and label products within a year, and VTech is currently submitting AT&T-branded phones for testing and certification.
"This is not a program for every phone or phone maker on the market," said Kate Lewis, Energy Star marketing manager. "In fact, we pride ourselves on being extremely selective and not being on every product."
The energy-efficiency performance standards in the program include standards for cordless phone battery chargers, ensuring that they don't overcharge the battery, Lewis said. Other improvements focus on the standby power consumption of various home communications devices.
Qualified models will use about one-third of the energy required by standard telephony products, but improvements made on the manufacturing end will not impact the cost to the end user, said Lewis.
"The pitch to retailers is that they can provide their customers with quality, energy-efficient phones with no sacrifices."
If all consumer phones and telephony equipment sold over the next 10 years adopted Energy Star standards, consumers would save about $4 billion on their electricity bills and spare 66 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from being pumped into air (the equivalent of more than 1 million cars).
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