With so many different TV options available--plasma, LED, and OLED in the near future--it's becoming increasingly difficult to sort out energy efficiency and environmental claims. A new standard, tentatively dubbed EPEAT-for-TV, aims to change that by defining environmental performance once and for all.
The standard is currently in development through the IEEE Standards Association as well as retailers and TV companies like Panasonic and Sony. EPEAT-for-TV will go beyond Energy Star ratings by looking at factors like elimination of environmentally-damaging materials, packaging, corporate performance, design for end of life, and energy conservation. Essentially, it's a more official version of Greenpeace's Greener Electronics guide.
EPEAT-for-TV isn't the first EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) standard. EPEAT-rated computers are mandatory for all federal PC purchases. Despite this precedent, TV manufacturers have heavily protested the new standards. It's understandable--EPEAT requires them to delve deep into the environmental-friendliness of their practices. Some supporters even believe that the system may confuse consumers used to the simple Energy Star ratings. But overall, the new EPEAT system seems like a win-win situation for all involved. Consumers interested in the environmental performance of their TVs will have a standard to work with, and manufacturers will have the chance to differentiate themselves from their peers.