Set-Top Box Energy Efficiency Voluntary Agreement: Extended, Expanded, and Exceeding Expectations
Last week, NCTA and CTA announced that the highly successful Set-Top Box Energy Efficiency Voluntary Agreement (STB VA) has been renewed for another four-year term. This is great news for consumers and the environment because it includes new commitments and more stringent energy efficiency levels for Set-Top Boxes.
The original STB VA was established in 2013 and the commitments ran through 2017. This new voluntary agreement goes through 2021 with the annual report from the independent administrator to come out in 2022.
The 2013 STB VA included a number of commitments by all the signatories, including the commitment that 90% of all STBs purchased would meet specified energy efficiency levels. The first level went into effect in 2014. A more stringent set of levels (known as Tier 2) went into effect in 2017. This amended VA defines a third tier of efficiency levels, Tier 3, that will go into effect in 2020. On average, Tier 3 is 20% more efficient than Tier 2. In addition, the VA includes the exploration of additional reductions and efficiencies for a potential future extension.
A new requirement in the amended VA includes reporting on the availability and usage of applications offered by the signatories to view their content on Smart TVs, PCs, and mobile devices without the use of an STB.
In the first four reporting periods of the STB VA, it has already proven to be immensely successful. As I blogged when the 2016 annual report came out, the program has already saved consumers over 2.1 Billion dollars and avoided 11.8 million metric tons of CO2 over the first four years. The original VA estimated savings of $1B annually, but that was nearly achieved in 2016 and is expected to be greater than $1B when the 2017 report is released.
The extended VA, with its new commitments and stricter energy tiers, is expected to save an ADDITIONAL $600 million, for a total of $1.6B in annual savings. In emissions terms, this equates to avoiding 9.3 million metric tons CO2, which is the equivalent of eliminating the emissions of over 2 million passenger cars EACH YEAR.
The STB VA is recognized as an effective alternative to regulation. Just last week, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry stated:
“DOE supports the commitment from industry to improve energy efficiency and looks forward to the renewal of this voluntary agreement with our private sector partners. Reducing federal regulatory burdens is a priority for myself and this Administration, and voluntary industry standards such as this are an effective alternative to government regulation.”
In 2016, the STB VA was recognized as Top Project of the Year by Environmental Leader, a leading daily trade publication on energy, environmental and sustainability issues.
CableLabs has played a leading role in many areas of the STB VA since the beginning and will continue to support the VA for this next term:
- We led the efforts to define the Tier 2 and Tier 3 energy levels, researching opportunities for energy savings and reductions, and will continue in this role in ongoing discussions moving forward.
- In our spec work, we integrate energy efficiency into our protocols, such as DOCSIS Light Sleep in the DOCSIS 3.1 specifications.
- We also provide support for the implementation of the VA, with testing, modeling, and reporting STB energy consumption for the cable signatories.
- CableLabs and its subsidiary, Kyrio, are ISO-17025 accredited to conduct certified testing of energy consumption of set-top boxes and small network equipment, which enables us to support non-cable signatories as well.
CableLabs is committed to the success of the STB VA, and we look forward to working with the industry to save consumers money, improve the environment and continue to deliver innovative features and services.
You can read more about CableLabs’ work on energy efficiency in our blog posts here and more about the Energy Efficiency Voluntary Agreements here. For more information, contact Debbie Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debbie Fitzgerald is a Principal Architect in the Technology Policy department and leads the Energy Efficiency Program.
Canada Launches STB Energy Efficiency Voluntary Agreement
CableLabs is excited about a new initiative announced today in Canada to address energy efficiency of set-top boxes, much like the voluntary agreements that have been established in the US and Europe. The Canadian Energy Efficiency Voluntary Agreement (CEEVA) for Set-top boxes includes the 5 largest Pay TV service providers and covers over 88% of the Pay TV market in Canada. Modeled after the successful Voluntary Agreement (VA) in the US, the Canadian service providers signed up to a very similar set of commitments:
- Beginning in 2017, at least 90% of all new set-top boxes purchased must meet ENERGY STAR version 3 levels (referred to as Tier 1 in the agreement).
- Beginning in 2018, at least 90% of all new set-top boxes purchased must meet more stringent Tier 2 levels as defined in the agreement.
- Signatories are required to submit an annual report by April 1 following each calendar year reporting period to a third-party data aggregator including STBs purchased and received during the reporting period along with their energy consumption.
- All service providers must provide public-facing energy information for the STB models within the scope of the agreement.
- Like the US VA, CEEVA also allows for innovation in the marketplace through a new feature process.
This agreement was the result of collaboration among competitors in the Pay TV space encompassing the cable, satellite, and telco markets, as well as manufacturers, regulators, and utilities. The signatories to date are:
- Cogeco Communications Inc.
- Rogers Communications
- Shaw Communications Inc.
- EchoStar Technologies
As mentioned, regulators and utilities were also involved in the discussions and negotiations. This was initially driven by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and also included the Ontario Ministry of Energy, the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines, Quebec’s Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, and Manitoba’s Department of Growth, Enterprise and Trade. Provincial utilities included BC Hydro, Independent Electricity System Operator, Manitoba Hydro, SaskPower, and Hydro Québec. It was a full house!
Four of the five service provider signatories are cable operators and CableLabs members, and CableLabs provided significant input and support into making this voluntary agreement come to fruition. We were able to contribute our experience with the highly successful Voluntary Agreement Programs in the US, as well as align CEEVA with the US VA to realize an even larger overall benefit to the environment on both sides of the border.
In the first three years of the STB VA in the US, CableLabs has been instrumental in helping the US Pay TV industry reduce energy consumption by 9.3 TWh and avoid 6.5 million metric tons of CO2, and we look forward to helping CEEVA succeed as well!
More information about CEEVA can be found at www.energyefficiency-va.ca.
Voluntary Agreement Will Reduce Total Annual Energy Consumption and Avoid over 100,000 Tonnes of CO2 Annually
Annonce d’un accord relatif à l’efficacité énergétique des décodeurs des fournisseurs de service de télévision par abonnement et des fabricants
Debbie Fitzgerald is a Principal Architect in the Technology Policy department and leads the Energy Efficiency program at CableLabs. You can read more blogs about the Energy Efficiency initiatives at https://www.cablelabs.com/category/energy/.