by Shelby Wood, for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
The Northwest is known for setting the pace when it comes to energy efficiency. Just last week, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy named Oregon (#4) and Washington (#5) to its annual top ten states for energy efficiency.
Northwest consumers share that reputation, often recognizing and demanding energy efficiency in products before the rest of the country. That’s why, in late 2009, the nonprofit Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency and the region’s electric utilities to create “Energy Forward,” aimed at helping consumers find the most energy-efficient televisions on the market. Energy Forward TVs carry distinctive orange stickers that identify them as the most technologically advanced, energy-efficient models available — basically, the best of the larger ENERGY STAR category.
NEEA and its partner utilities and energy efficiency organizations reach out to consumers in stores and through social media, including the Energy Forward Big Picture Contest launched last week on Facebook (winners receive Energy Forward TVs). NEEA also collaborates with its partners to develop more stringent product specifications for TVs and works with retailers to stock and promote the most efficient models. The goal is to speed the market adoption of super-efficient TVs in the Northwest — and to raise the bar for energy efficiency in TVs on a national scale.
Energy Forward TVs Making a Difference
Less than two years after the launch of Energy Forward — even in a sour economy — these efforts are making an impact. Before NEEA created Energy Forward, there was no way to easily distinguish super-efficient TVs from TVs that met minimum energy-efficiency standards. Now retailers representing 80 percent of TVs sold in the Northwest are partnering with NEEA to promote Energy Forward TVs in their stores and to their consumers.
NEEA’s work, combined with other partner efforts, has helped yield results.
At the start of 2011, super energy-efficient TVs with the Energy Forward sticker represented 12 percent of televisions sold in the Northwest by participating retailers. NEEA anticipates that by the end of 2011, 35 to 40 percent of TVs sold in the region will be Energy Forward.
From 2009 through 2010, NEEA’s regional television initiative saved the region approximately 13.7 average megawatts in energy savings, the equivalent to powering 10,453 homes each year.
Energy Forward’s Potential
According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, 85 percent of the region’s new demand for electricity over the next 20 years can be met by using energy more efficiently. The council estimates some of the biggest energy savings could come from more Northwest residents choosing super-efficient televisions.
“A region-wide shift to the most efficient TVs has the potential to save enough energy to power more than 290,000 homes each year,” said Stephanie Fleming, residential sector manager for NEEA, which is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, Energy Trust of Oregon, and more than 100 utilities in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. “Lowering TV energy use also reduces the need to build more expensive gas- and coal-fired power plants and helps avoid greenhouse gas emissions.”
Energy Forward TVs can be purchased at numerous major retailers, including Best Buy, Costco, Kmart, Sam’s Club, Sears, and Walmart, and a range of regional and independent retailers throughout the Northwest. More information on Energy Forward, including complete lists of retailers and super energy-efficient televisions, is available at www.energyefficientelectronics.org.
About the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is a non-profit organization working to maximize energy efficiency to meet our future energy needs. NEEA is supported by and works in partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration, Energy Trust of Oregon and more than 100 Northwest utilities for the benefit of more than 12 million energy consumers. NEEA uses the market power of the region to accelerate the innovation and adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices. Since 1997, NEEA and its partners have saved enough energy to power more than 450,000 homes each year. Energy efficiency can satisfy more than half of our new demand for energy, saving money and keeping the Northwest a healthy and vibrant place to live. For more information, visit neea.org.
- American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, “ACEEE State Efficiency Scorecard,” 10/11/2011
- “Energy Forward Helps Shoppers See the Big Picture in Televisions,” 10/18/2011
- Northwest Power and Conservation Council, “New Northwest Power Plan,” 2/10/2010
- The Big Picture Contest