The California Energy Commission has created new standards for battery chargers that would go into effect in February of 2013. The new chargers would contain technology that would shut the charger off once a gadget was fully charged, reducing wasted energy. That wasted energy is sometimes referred to as vampire draw.
The Commission issued the new standards as a way to save 8,000 gigawatt hours of electricity. That’s the amount of energy wasted each year by inefficient battery chargers. The monetary savings would be $306 million that California tax payers could keep in their pockets. According to Energy Star, if everyone in America were to use energy efficient battery chargers, it would “prevent the release of more than one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions – equivalent to the emissions of 150,000 cars.” Another by product of new battery charger standards is that it reduces the need to build more power plants.
Battery charger systems use energy in three modes: (1) energy used to actually charge batteries (charge mode); (2) energy consumed by the battery charger when the battery has been removed or disconnected (no-battery mode); and (3) energy consumed after the battery has been fully charged (battery-maintenance mode).
The proposed standards will eliminate wasted energy by setting a limit on the total electricity consumed by a battery charger in all three modes. Many consumer electronics manufacturers produce chargers that already meet the standards.
Energy efficient charging technology has been around for a while. In March of 2010, AT&T introduced the ZERO charger. The ZERO charger turned off once the cell phone was charged saving electricity and money for the consumer. Apple has a battery charger that has one of the lowest vampire draws on the market. According to the company the charger which charges six rechargeable AA batteries only uses 30 mW in standby mode while other battery chargers will use 315 mW.
So California’s new standards aren’t requiring manufacturers to come up with some new technology. The standards require that charger manufacturers incorporate known technology into the chargers that are being made. The U.S. Department of Energy is also working on energy efficiency standards for battery chargers.
California has frequently been a forerunner in the areas of energy efficiency and reduced pollution. Once the makers of battery chargers start manufacturing chargers that meet California standards, the rest of us will benefit as well. After all, if they have to make more efficient battery chargers for California, might as well make them for the rest of the country.
With all of the gadgets that we have these days that require battery chargers, having more energy efficient ones can only help us all.Tags: Apple, AT&T, battery charger, California Energy Commission, energy efficient, Energy Star, Zero charger