As of the last day of 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has decreed that external power adapters will no longer be eligible for an Energy Star label. The EPA says this is because the adapters have become much more efficient in the roughly five years they have been covered under the program. To wit, more than 50 percent of the external adapters sold in the United States were designed to the Energy Star program standards. The government figures that annual energy use associated with these adapters is about 12 billion kilowatt hours less on an annual basis than it would be if nothing had been done.
So, why is the EPA backing off? Mainly, because the government actually has mandated a minimum federal efficiency standard. So, in essence, the Energy Star label for external power adapters is becoming redundant.
The one thing that bugs me about this move isn't the fact that the EPA is trying to save money (why pay for a program that is redundant) but rather its acknowledgement that most of us still have an average of nine different external power adapters that we use with our gadgets, including digital cameras, mobile phones and cordless phones. I have a drawerful of them here, actually. It's always fun to figure out what goes with what when I pull out something I don't use that often.
We really need to get our act together on the universal power adapter front.