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Green Electronics – Do They Matter

An Open Question to Readers…

A consumer group in Britain has released a report on the state of energy efficiency in consumer electronics (here, pdf). They did some mystery shopping to see how, if at all, retailers positioned energy saving products:

But the stores visited by our researchers told much the same story as the websites. We found virtually no information on display in the consumer electronics sections, or elsewhere in the stores, about how much energy consumer electronics products use. We surveyed around 350 different models, from eight companies, in ten different stores.

In the United States, you see some momentum building on the “green CE” front now that Wal-Mart is now making CE manufacturers fill out an environmental scorecard.

With concerns growing about global warming and peak oil, squeezing greater efficiencies out of consumer electronics is bound to be a larger issue.

Or is it?

Do consumers really care if their electronics are more efficient (and by “care” I mean willing to pay more for), or is this just a fad driven by a sliver of our hand-wringing elite?

I think this is more than an academic question. Depending on how the climate debate and the larger issue of energy security plays out, it could be a legislative issue as well. CEA is certainly trying to stay out in front of this issue.

But in the day-in/day-out world of CE retailing, is this really a big deal? It would be interesting to know just how retailers feel about this. Is a product’s efficiency a purchase motivator? (Judging by plasma TV sales, we may safely conclude: no.)

If it’s not now, will it be in the future?

(Note: if you’re interested, I mean really interested, in this topic, CEA underwrote a massive study on energy efficiency in consumer electronics. All 147 pages of its wonky goodness can be found here.)