Energy Star 4.0 Goes Into Effect; Energy Star 5.0 Coming In 2012

Mother Earth may be hurting from that oil spill down in the Gulf, but there's still some bright news on the "green" front: the new, tougher Energy Star standard went into effect this week, making it tougher for companies to ship and sell gizmos that aren't power efficient. Beginning on May 1, the new Energy Star 4.0 standard for televisions will go into effect, and while the standard was announced last September, it hasn't officially been the latest and greatest until now.

With the new standard, the "maximum amount of power an Energy Star TV can consume will drop by about 40 percent." After May 1, no televisions will be able to be manufacturerd will be able to carry an Energy Star logo unless it meets Energy Star 4.0 protocol, and models that don't meet the criteria will also vanish from the EPA's continual list of compliant televisions.

40% may sound like a huge improvement, but it's mostly because Energy Star 3.0 wasn't that stringent. Now, ES 4.0 means that a 50" HDTV won't be able to carry an Energy Star logo is it burns over 153 Watts, which is not quite half of 3.0's maximum. Also, the new standard makes sure that sets drain less than 1 watt when in sleep or standby mode, which is what consumers see as "turned off."

So, are TV makers ready? They sure are. Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Vizio are already producing sets that are ES 4.0-compliant, so it's unlikely that there will be an outcry over the change. Of course, this standard won't last long; Energy Star 5.0 is already planned for May 2010, which will make a 50" set have to draw less than 105 Watts when turned on. See, we told you Mother Earth would be happy, if only for awhile.