Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its intention to discontinue the voluntary ENERGY STAR® Battery Charging System (BCS) program specification on June 3, 2014. When it became effective in early 2006, it was the first efficiency program focused on reducing energy waste in stand-alone battery chargers and systems sold with rechargeable products.
So, why is the EPA “sunsetting” the program instead of updating it? The answer is the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) mandatory BCS efficiency standard which became effective in February of this year. Unlike the EPA program, which only regulates the energy consumed during a BCS’s maintenance and standby modes, the CEC BCS standard is more comprehensive and aggressive, covering additional operating modes and a wider range of products. According to the EPA, they found only limited potential savings possible in improving on the CEC standard.
An additional reason may also be that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is expected to publish their final federal BCS standard before the end of this year. It’s unclear at this point whether the DOE will stick with its original specification or adapt the CEC’s current program specs. Either way, U.S. consumers will benefit from more efficient charging as they use their portable electronic products.
Check the ENERGY STAR BCS web page for more information on the BCS program retirement. For information on the CEC’s BCS standard, click here. Information on the DOE’s BCS standard activity can be found here.