Consumer electronics comprise a rapidly evolving market sector with shorter product cycles and faster changes in cost and energy consumption compared with those of traditional appliances such as white goods and lighting. This fast pace of product development, along with the associated changing costs over time and changes in duty cycle, necessitates a new and refined approach to policy development and program design for consumer electronics. In our paper, we describe a recent engineering analysis for consumer electronics.
Engineering analyses provide information to researchers, efficiency program designers and policy makers about how current and emerging technologies are expected to affect costs, product cycles and energy efficiency. Using computer displays as a case study, we show how engineering analyses for consumer electronics differ from those for traditional appliances and how our updated reverse engineering studies yield information on costs and efficiency changes over time. New methods for analysis include developing detailed power budgets at the component level, linking these components to a cost forecast model and identifying innovative technologies and best practices.
There are significant cost effective energy savings to be had in displays such as computer monitors—up to 50 percent on-mode power draw reductions for the market-representative models we evaluate. Our investigation shows there are ways to reduce energy use through more efficient backlighting, film stacks, LCD panels and power supplies, and by optimizing light output. Additionally, we examine promising emerging technologies that could save additional energy in the near future.