California legislation targets inefficient energy use in products

The California Energy Commission recently mandated that charging systems on regular portable electronic devices needed to be made energy efficient within the next few years. These new chargers could save the state more than $300 million in energy costs each year, which is enough to power about 350,000 energy-efficient homes in the Golden State.

In mandating that consumers purchase more expensive, albeit more energy efficient products, California appears to be one of the first states to follow the lead of the national government's initiative to force consumers to replace products that waste energy with their more efficient counterparts, such as CFL bulbs.

According to the commission, the rules – which affect consumer goods in February 2013, industrial chargers in January 2014 and commercial equipment in January 2017 – target "vampire" chargers that waste significant amounts of energy.

"This means that we can have the devices that we like in our lives and that make our lives easier," the commission's Karen Douglas told The Los Angeles Times. "But by taking a few relatively simple steps to improve battery chargers, we can save so much electricity, take care of the environment and save ratepayers money."

Douglas gave the example of an energy-efficient laptop battery charger that would cost a consumer about $0.50 more at the time of purchase, even though it would save $19 in energy costs over its lifetime.

Homeowners who use energy-efficient chargers for their electronic devices may be prepared to embrace additional tenets of energy-efficient homes, such as insulated windows and energy-saving appliances. In order to identify areas of the home that can be worked on, consumers may contact a home inspection service in the Maryland area that has experience helping homeowners save money by trimming their energy outputs.