OECD nations can cut energy use by 1/3 by 2010 - IEA
Such a move by members of the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, would cut the emissions of polluting greenhouse gases by the equivalent of removing 100 million cars from their roads.
Home appliances such as computers, fridges, mixers, toasters, televisions and videos are the fastest growing energy users after automobiles in OECD countries and many of them consume power when switched off in stand-by mode.
Such devises account for 30 percent of OECD electricity consumption and 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, largely blamed for global warming.
IEA projected electricity demand to grow by 13 percent by 2010 and by 25 percent by 2025, based on current appliance standards.
"Additional efficiency gains of up to 30 percent are possible by setting energy performance targets for appliances from 2005 onwards as the minimum effiency performance standard," the IEA said in a new study "Cool appliances: Policy Strategies for Energy-Efficient Homes."
It said 642 terawatt hours of electricity could be saved and 322 million tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduced by 2010 if OECD members took action by 2005 and implemented tougher standards for appliances.
"These savings can be achieved at a negative cost to society. The extra costs of more efficient appliances are offset by savings in running costs over the life of the appliance," IEA said in a statement.
It said such measures would achieve up to 30 percent of IEA countries' targets under the global United Nations Kyoto protocol to cut greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries by 5.2 percent of 1990 levels by 2008-2012.
Each saved tonne of CO2 could save European consumers up to 169 euros ($183.2) between 2005 and 2020 as well as reduce costly electricity bills.
The OECD has 30 members of which 26 are members of the IEA.
The United States introduced its first national federal standards for electrical home devises in 1987 and Japan is in the process of setting up its own standards which also include cars.