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As leaders in the field of energy efficiency, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) have announced a program to encourage businesses to save energy and lower their costs for electricity. For the first time in the United States, utilities, retailers, and manufacturers are joining together to help businesses become more informed about the benefits of purchasing energy efficient electronic products. In addition to the two utilities, this Business and Consumer Electronics program includes Best Buy, Sears Holding Company, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Lenovo.
Administered in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR program, the Business and Consumer Electronics program provides marketing support to encourage manufacturers and retailers to educate, promote, and sell the most energy efficient televisions, desktop computers, and monitors. Consumers will see co-branded signs on the most energy-efficient and cost-saving electronic products in participating retail stores. The program is expected to save PG&E and SMUD customers up to 380 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) through 2011, enough to power more than 55,000 typical homes.
“Californians are some of the most cutting edge technology consumers in the United States,” said Brad Whitcomb, vice president of marketing and customer innovation for PG&E. “As a result, electronics account for almost 20% of the total electric consumption by residential users. PG&E’s Business and Consumer Electronics team saw an opportunity for dramatic energy savings and designed a program based on proven industry experience and customer feedback,” Whitcomb added.
“The Business and Consumer Electronics program will not only encourage energy efficiency in a new sector, it will provide retailers and manufacturers with the marking support they need to help accelerate adoption of energy-efficient electronics,” said Paul Lau, deputy assistant general manager for SMUD. “Through this program, SMUD and PG&E are setting the bar for energy efficiency in business and consumer electronics in our communities and beyond.”
Katharine Kaplan, EPA team lead, ENERGY STAR Product Development added, “The Business and Consumer Electronics program is a win for the environment, for businesses, and for consumers. I’m delighted that the products promoted through the Business and Consumer Electronics program meet and exceed the stringent ENERGY STAR specification.”
Currently, ENERGY STAR-qualified televisions use up to 30% less energy than standard units. If all televisions sold in the U.S. met ENERGY STAR requirements, consumers across the nation would save an estimated one billion dollars in annual energy costs and would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking about one million cars off the road.
“The Consumer Electronics program is a logical next-step strategy for managing ever-increasing energy use,” said Stephanie Fleming, senior manager, residential sector, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. “Our unique ability to work consistently with regional utilities and retailers throughout the Northwest will streamline the effort and accelerate market adoption of next-generation, energy-efficient electronics,” she added.