International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

October 2011


Standby for better performance

Much is being written and said about the smart homes of the future, with their networked appliances and automated systems, but a networked home also means a home with a large number of appliances on standby. Even in our current 'un-networked' homes, standby power accounts for 5 % to 15 % of a household's power consumption in developing countries and is responsible for 240 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year (or 1 % of global CO2 emissions) according to the IEA (International Energy Agency).

Measuring power consumption

The IEC recognizes that standby power consumption is an important energy-efficiency issue and for a number of years has been preparing International Standards to measure it efficiently. The IEC also included the reduction of standby power in its list of recommendations in the September 2010 White Paper "Coping with the Energy Challenge".


IEC TC 59: Performance of household and similar electrical appliances, focuses on the need to develop products that have a reduced environmental impact; this led to publication of the second edition (in January 2011) of International Standard IEC 62301, Household electrical appliances – Measurement of standby power, which is widely used by manufacturers and regulators. The second edition comprises a technical revision and improved test method for measuring the standby power consumption of all household appliances. MT (Maintenance Team) 9: Measurement of standby power, which replaced WG 9 in 2005, is tasked with maintaining IEC 62301.


IEC TC 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment, aims to achieve standardization within the fast moving sector of multimedia technology and also provides standardized methods for the measurement of power consumption as specified in IEC 62087-BD, Methods of measurement for the power consumption of audio, video and related equipment. It is the third edition of the International Standard prepared by TA (Technical Area) 12: Colour measurement and management, and as well as standby, covers measurement of consumption in on- and off-power modes.



  • Energy efficiency starts at home.
  • New standby power standards will cut unnecessary waste.
  • The IEC recommends the reduction of standby power in its "Coping with the Energy Challenge" White Paper.



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