On 7 January, a new European Commission regulation entered into force banning the sale of a range of products with standby functionalities. The aim is to reduce standby energy consumption of household and office products. Estimated annual energy savings of 35 TWh are foreseen by 2020, compared to a business-as-usual scenario. The regulation applies to a range of household appliances on the market, such as washing machines and clothes dryers, dishwashers, cooking appliances, hair driers, electric tooth brushes, shavers, massage and body care appliances, TVs and computers.

The measure sets, for 2010 onwards, a maximum allowed power consumption for standby of either one or two Watts, depending on the products' functionality. From 2013, the maximum standby power consumption level is fixed at 0.5 Watt or one Watt. The regulation would thus reduce the EU's standby electricity consumption - currently some 50 TWh per year - by 73% by 2020. According to the Commission, it would also lead to...

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