Task C: Horizontal Approach

Many experts agree that a horizontal approach to standby power offers the most promise from a policy perspective in terms of covering a wide range of product types and dealing with the different types of functionality present in low power modes. An all-encompassing horizontal policy approach to tackling standby power will enable specific goals to be reached in the most cost effective way in the medium term. This will benefit not only programme and government administrators but also industry who will value the clear and unequivocal application of the standard across all product types.


The main steps to achieving these goals are:

  • Identify interim horizontal measures which may be implemented in advance of a functional horizontal approach, for example: approaches that consider allowances for groups of appliance types, defined functions, specified modes or the lowest power modes.
  • Undertake a detailed technical assessment of medium and long term horizontal standby policy approaches and assess the strengths and weakness of options that target modes, groups of appliances, functions or clusters of functions.
  • Identify key generic functions for electrical/electronic appliances that could be used to define a horizontal approach and make a detailed technical assessment of the relevant power levels for each function type.
  • Identify power levels by function that are acceptable (in terms of a minimum requirement) and best practice design.
  • Monitor the development of new functions and their relevance for low power modes.
  • Identify a range of acceptable power consumption levels for each function (and any variation in modes).
  • Examine the issue of power management and develop ways that ensure that products manage themselves to consume the least amount of energy possible while still maintaining the required level of functionality.
  • Prepare reports that explain the practical application of these allowance for a range of appliances, particularly in relation to vertical specifications, and identify any exceptions which may apply.
  • Communicate findings of these studies and investigations to policy makers through the information dissemination work element (data activities).
  • Contribute to further development of relevant measurement methods.


While a horizontal approach to standby will be the most effective way to deal with the majority of products within this realm, the vertical approach is probably preferable where it is feasible. A vertical approach is where all relevant low power modes are considered in conjunction with active modes (ie the main function of the product) and the total energy consumption of the product for a specified duty cycle is calculated and used as the basis for comparison or regulation. This approach is prefereable as it considers the total energy consumption of the product, not just the low power modes. This is important because some products with poor low power mode attributes may in fact be far more efficient during normal use and therefore their total energy consumption may be less than some products with good low power mode attributes (although these elements are usually not directly linked).


In general terms, a vertical approach is usually only feasible or warranted for those products that consume significant energy as a separate end used and which are already covered by some form of voluntary or mandatory energy scheme. There can be some complexity to the development of valid parameters for the duty cycle as this needs to be reflective of typical usage patterns (which can of course be highly variable across individual customers) and the duty cycle needs to specify the duration of all relevant modes. This approach has already been adopted for some products under the EcoDesign Directive in Europe and for energy labelling of whitegoods in Australia and the USA (for example). From a future policy perspective, it is generally acknowledged that good policy practice is to ensure that products that are already covered by suitable vertical measures should not again be subjected to the requirements of a horizontal standby requirement. However, it should be noted that vertical measures, even under the most optimistic and extreme coverage scenarios, are likely to only cover 10% to 20% of total standby power, so horizontal and vertical approaches should be regarded as complementary measures rather than policy alternatives.


The specific deliverables for this task include:

  • Undertake a review of current standby policy options adopted or advocated by major economies and approaches recommended for short term policy action.
  • Commission studies on options for a horizontal standby approach, including the detailed technical assessment of functions and power requirements, and options for the integration of vertical and horizontal approaches within a coherent policy framework.
  • Hold three regional workshops (EU, USA, Asia) to discuss the options for adoption of a common policy framework.
  • Prepare a final report which documents a long term horizontal standby policy approach and provides elements of a common international framework, including detailed documentation on recommended approaches, definitions and any exemptions or special cases.
  • Setup a process to provide an ongoing review of functional allowances in the light of product designs, function types available and technical advances. This process would also review any exemptions or special rules for particular product ro designs within the standby policy framework.
  • Develop an advisory policy framework for the complementary operation of horizontal standby approaches with vertical measures in different countries, noting that each country will have specific circumstances that need to be considered.

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