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What are Television Makers Doing to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of their Products?

2014 July 29

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By: Verena Radulovic

ENERGY STAR certified TVs are more efficient than ever due to advances in technology and innovations in product design. The energy savings that have resulted play an important role in the fight against climate change. But even with this success, there’s still more work to do to reduce the significant climate impacts associated with manufacturing TVs as well as computer displays and tablets. The issue is the release of potent fluorinated greenhouse gasses, known as F-GHGs, used to create the LCD panels that go into these products. For example, SF6, which has 23,000 times more heat-trapping potential than carbon dioxide, is widely used in LCD manufacturing.

Last year, EPA’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership began highlighting steps the world’s major LCD panel suppliers are taking to reduce these gasses by posting company-specific profiles that cover current mitigation measures, future reduction goals, and public disclosure efforts.

This year’s update to these supplier profiles, which feature twelve suppliers that represent 99% of all panels produced globally, shows some encouraging signs. Some suppliers have outfitted their newer manufacturing facilities- those that make the largest LCD panels for products like 50-inch and larger TVs– with equipment that captures and destroys F-GHGs. Overall, reported annual emissions are continuing to decrease, both on a per meter of glass produced basis, and in some cases, across an entire facility or facilities. But there continues to be room for improvement. Some LCD suppliers still need to implement key reduction measures at their newer facilities. Many have yet to outfit older facilities with these climate-benefitting measures. And a few suppliers have not publicly reported any control efforts.

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One really exciting development is the growing recognition among many big name brands that this is an issue their customers are likely to care about. Leading companies Dell, Lenovo, HP, Wal-Mart and Best Buy have banded together to collectively call on suppliers to set new targets for reducing F-GHGs in the manufacturing of LCD products, and demonstrate results within just a few years. To learn more about the electronics sector’s efforts to reduce F-GHG emissions, visit our website.

Verena Radulovic, EPA

Verena Radulovic, EPA

About the Author: Verena Radulovic develops and manages various product specifications for the ENERGY STAR program, including televisions, displays and audio/video products.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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