The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that as a result of major success in moving the external power adapter market towards greater and more sustainable energy efficiency, effective December 31, 2010, adapters will no longer be eligible for the Energy Star label.
External power adapters are sold with products like digital cameras, cordless phones and cell phones. EPA estimates there are approximately nine external power adapters for every person in the United States – as many as 2.7 billion in total. External power adapters were originally added to the Energy Star program in 2005 as a way to address energy waste across the broad array of diverse products powered by them. At the same time, EPA specified the use of Energy Star qualified adapters for relevant product categories that were covered by the program.
Within 3 years, approximately 50 percent of all external power adapters sold in the United States were Energy Star qualified, saving 5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) per year and reducing greenhouse gases by 1 million metric tons of carbon annually. In 2008, a federal minimum efficiency standard went into effect for adapters, mandating the Energy Star performance level. EPA strengthened the Energy Star requirements further and by 2009, estimates indicated that the market share of external power adapters meeting the new Energy Star specification was greater than 50 percent. Energy use associated with external power adapters nationally is estimated to be 12 billion kWh less per year than it would have been had their energy performance stayed where it was in 2005.