Yes, good point. What the Consumer Electronics Association is saying is that the industry is making energy efficeincy advances that haven't been recognized, and that much of what the regulators are trying to achieve is already occurring organically.
It's amazing that with the business climate / economy in the dumps that anybody would consider adding addtional regulation, which results in more costs for everybody involved. If this is something that needs to be discussed and weighed, fine, but start the discussions after the immediate mess is solved.
Many other countries are now mandating minimum energy efficiency standards (EU, China, Japan etc) that are well above those contemplated for the US. So what does this mean for US design and manufacturing? Any product designed for the US market cannot be sold in many other countries. This would give a competitive advantage to Taiwan, China, Japan & Korea, as they would be the leading edge design and manufacturing countries. The US would become the dumping ground for old junk that can’t be sold to the rest of the world.
Its sad to see a once great nation sinking into complacency and irrelevance, you can’t lead from the rear.
This comment reminds me of a story my father told me circa 1985 in which an EPA regulator instisted that the EPA would no longer tolerate their lax management of wastewater exiting the plant. He would no longer allow them to get away with a PH of 7, and would require them to attain PH 0. The history of techno-morons in government is long.
Nice. Totally agree. The main problem in my opinion is that the officials do not let the industry itself develop competitive products based on demand of the market. They flood us with worthless regulations that take away from real design and make us waste time. This creates the situation that our products are not useful, but they comply. They should get out of the way and let us design based on what needed, not what they think is needed.
If you want the EPA and other regulators to do a good job, give them the funding so that they can. The current policy is to reduce the funding for regulators so that the organization has no teeth.
Many countries around the world, China, Germany and now Japan are short of generating capacity. While it’s possible to build new power stations, it takes many years to bring them on line. Most countries have realized that it’s also easier and cheaper to reduce the power consumption of existing products by increasing Energy Efficiency. Improving the Energy Efficiency of existing products is cheap and easy, you just need to prevent the junk being sold.
The US faces an energy crises as well with aging distribution infrastructure. The utilities and states want the FED to fund the upgrade, who do you think should fund the work?
In a speech the President stated that he would like to see cars made in the US in Korea etc, but US standard cars do not meet the Korean pollution or fuel economy standards. The toughest pollution or fuel economy standards are for cars sold in China. If you go to China you will see lots of cars form Europe, Japan, Korea and now China these are the countries with companies that can meet the challenge.
I would prefer to keep things at professional level and not call other terms or names without any concrete proof. This forum is to provide opinions on subjects, not on participants. Lets keep it professional !!!
Now let us examine reality. Every country has a few firms that are an example of industrial excelence with satelites in other countries. I still remember visiting Zeis, which was a flagship firm of Eastern Germany. Their engineers used 100W soldering irons to solder 32 gauge wires, and used meters produced before I was born. Thheir product was great but expensive. Suntech could be also a good company, but for every Suntech there are hundreds if not thousands of firms located in areas where you would not even want to visit for a day. I'm sure you would not want to drink water or eat out in that area. We all now what I'm talking about. This is what I call "HELL" areas, not Arizona. Lets be serious.
It is exacly those producers that flood the market with low cost products. It is exacly those producers that do not have any reasonable regulations for HAZ-MAT, QC, personnel, etc... This is how they market their products: cheap.
On the other hand we have local laws that regulate to death every little thing. This is why our auto producers have an immediate $7--$9 dissandvantage in sallary against any far east car producer. Production managers would rather spend a weekend with their mothers in law then one hour with OSHA inspectors/regulators.
And you want to give them more funding !?!?! Are you serious !!!
I stopped listening to President's speaches long ago. In my opinion it is unpatriotic to distroy induatry after industry and weaken the country. Try to find a machine shop in PA, NY, NJ that had no layoffs. Where are the projects ?!
I will provide youwith an answer: CHINA.
We do not sell cars in China not because of toughest pollution or fuel economy standards, but bacuse of 200% duty.
We are not blaming others, we are venting our frustration due to gross missmanagement from the top down, waste and uncontrolled regulations that damage our manufactures and the economy.
On a personal note, I was very surprized with your reply, but to make you feel better, I will sign off with a term that you were so gratious of awarding me with.
I’m interested to see that you regard being called a Bureaucrat as a personal attack, there are many who would take it as a complement.
To the point.
As of 2009 (the last time I undertook a review of appliance power standards), the EU had the toughest standards, which are mandated 2012. Although, I now understand that Japan is reviewing its standards in light of their recent tragedy. So if any manufacture wants to sell a product outside of the US they will typically design for the highest standard. This makes perfect economic sense, you don’t want to make too many different versions (Cisco is a good example). But many also produce a version just for the US because this country is such a big market. What currently happens is that the junk is sold to markets with the least standards.
A good example is the PC power supply. Most of those sold in the US are very inefficient 70% at best, THDI > 80%, True PF of 0.6 leading and a standby power draw of 20W or more. What goes to the rest of the world is efficiencies > 80 (Best practice > 90), THDI <25%, True PF of > 0.9 and a standby power draw of <2W. If all of the PC power supplies in the US were to this standard or better, you would actually see a large drop in the countries power consumption, plus an improvement in the power quality. A quick check on Amazon of computer power supplies shows that the difference between junk and good practice is as little as $20, meaning it’s a Win-Win.
The US standards are not the most highest in the world, in fact the US has some of the lowest when it comes to appliances and power. To repeat, China has tougher power standards than the US.
As far as worker safety is concerned, again the US does not have the highest standards (from memory) the EU is tougher.
What would happen if the world had one tough appliance power standard, no one nation would have any advantage. Power consumption in the US would drop, utility bills would be reduced, coal consumption would reduce. Everybody here should be pushing for one global standard, not attempting to avoid standards.
I guess i need to refer you to a commonly known tool: dictionary.
Bureacrat is anofficialwhoworksbyfixedroutinewithoutexercisingintelligentjudgment.
I would hardly call is a compliment !
So, let us stay on the real subject. We can all draem about global unity and strive for best and most logical standards for the total world, however we have a problem having common stadards in US. Each state has it own set of rules and regulation, and it is because the real bureacrats want to justify their pay and existance.
Every country has some things that are better then US. Japan has the most advanced phone industry with phones years ahead of US. It is not because they know how to make phones better, but because the education level of its users demands this. This all comes back to basics: education and demand. We have problems with education, and until it is fixed, US will be behind some other coutries in some areas.
Personally, I'm not convinced that if all of us change our power supplies in our PCs, our utilities will drop electric charges.
There are in fact areas in which there are universal power standards that work for every country in the world. The main examples are the Laptop, Netbook, Tablet PC and GSM mobile. This was a necessity so everybody made it work.
In a previous life I had to work with many suppliers and I often asked them about supplying to other countries.
I asked why one European UPS manufacture (large 3-phase) did not offer their products in the US. He said that they had to get their units certified against the IEC standards, then ship units to the US for UL certification. They felt that they should concentrate on the emerging markets like China.
I also asked a US manufacture about exporting their products around the world and what were the problems. He said that they easily found a universal power supply with worldwide certification, but that wasn’t the problem. When he exports he only needs to supply type of 32A power connector (IEC 309). When a supplies to the US he asks the customer which power connector is required because there are so many. There is also a special US version of the IEC 309.
The current situation has not developed because of excessive regulation, but a lack of standardization. This has been driven by sectional interests not Bureaucrats. Standardization will require leadership not lip service. If everybody really wants to reduce costs in the US then drop any standard that overlaps with the IEC.
I couldn’t agree with you more about education… education is the future.
As it turns out "Energy Star" is not alone in having problems. Many energy and environmental standards groups (and "green" marking symbols) have either started out compromised or become compromised even to the point of being mere "green washing" marketing gimmicks.
If we could truly count on any of these energy and environmental marketing symbols to mean something I would back them fully.
But as it turns out many of the enviro-ranking marks are virtually meaningless because they are often 100% voluntary, and often as not, not verified by authorative and impartial third parties.
I believe that companies need to have meaningful energy standards forced on them by law.
The situation is that the individuals making up all of these rules lack any sort of practical technical background, and that many of the decisions appear to be based only on emotions. Of course, that is to be expected in an area where things are "all about the experience".
The real tragedy is that industry does not have an effective means to challenge these rulemakers. The best challenge would have been if the auto comanies had all refused to produce cars meeting the original emmisions requirements, and all of the natives had been unable to purchase new cars. That would have forced the issue to a point where the votors could make a rational decision. Unfortunately, nobody was willing to stand up to the challenge, mostly because that state is a large market. Almost like caving in to a schoolyard bully, wasn't it?
Now comes the energy star, and instead of rationality we have jumps in requirements and all sorts of hoops to leap through, and not a lot of rational reason behind the regulations.
@William K, I agree with just about all the comments everyone has made on this article, living in a very Red area (Orange County) of a very Blue state (California). But I check myself every time I get too far into the conservative/libertarian leanings with the observation that the U.S. government did do something right in mandating catalytic converters and unleaded gas in 1973. You don't have to go very far from here to see and smell what a difference it makes. Just cross the border into Mexicon where they still have lots of pre-1973 American cars for taxis, and you almost choke from the poor air quality.
That said, California probably did itself a disservice by going above and beyond the federal regulations. What our air would be like without the CA regulations is debatable. I totally agree that scientists and engineers should be involved in setting reasonable standards and regulations, not know-nothing bureaucrats.
A notable blunder here in California was Proposition 65, which requires notices that "chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, blah, blah, blah.... are present in this establishment", passed in the '80's. So every gas station and almost every store in the state has these signs; they are so ubiquitous that nobody pays any attention to them! I guess the people that make the signs are laughing all the way to the bank!
You are making many great points, however my point is a bit different. It is not political. My point that people with no understanding or with minimal understanding of an issue are creating regulations that are detramental to the industry. Two main problems arise. One is that makes our product more costly and less compatitive. Second is that the regulations are so rediculous and difficult to reach, that some try to go around and then being fined and in extreme cases procecuted. In both cases it damages the industry and kills jobs.
just look at the solar panel firm that just wend under. One of the largest complains was: REGULATIONS. On the other hand the chineese firms are bringing is cheaper products made in "HELL" areas, and nobody cares. At the end we lost jobs and over 500 millions. This mone is yours and mine and everybodies.
California should have put a special duty on the import and logical regulations on local producers. This would be a win-win solution.
In our case we all lost ( liberal and conservatives alike ).
@Sensor pro. More rhetoric than realty, you are clearly a Bureaucrat not an Engineer. The biggest PV manufacture in the world (2010) was Suntech China. If you visit this plant it would look just like any other high tech facility anywhere is the world. This company even has a plant in the US. In some place called Arizona.
The founder and CEO was trained in Australia at the University of New South Wales, the world leader in PV technology.
Or was Arizona the Hell area you were talking about?
Rob, thank you for properly defining the acronyms at the beginning of your article. At the end, "The CEA urged the CEC..." sounded like Robin Williams in "Good Morning Vietnam", keeping the VP's visit on the QT from the VC...
Sorry, had to get that off my chest.
How much of an increase in efficiency is the CEC asking? Is it a quantum leap, or an evolutionary increment?
It's bad enough for bureaucrats to set an arbitrary requirement. Too often they try to dictate the means one must use to meet it. When muliple bureacracies claim jurisdiction over an activity, regulations from one agency sometimes contradict those of another.
Folks do need to remember that this is California we're talking about, and politics, not science or engineering. For a fair number of years, California has been controlled by people who decide on an ideology and emotion, not reality and science. I'm old enough to remember vividly the 1964 elections. At that time, I was certainly young and left-leaning (although never a socialist). One of Barry Goldwater's many statements that were seized on with glee by the "intelligentsia" was his suggestion that we ought to saw California off from the "mainland" US and let is slowly float out to sea! In retrospect, sounds like another of the many things he said that were quite prescient! Going back even further, Everett Dirksen of Illinois, another Republican senator from the "old days," stated that "Politics is the art of the possible." Not anymore; it's become the art of demanding the unobtainable by bureaucratic fiat. As engineers, we must never lose sight of the basic fact that we work in the world of REALITY. I don't think they teach that anymore....
I understand the focus on energy star and water usage and everything. But I hope as the government removes more water the consumer is still allowed to have a basic level of performance. I hate to see dishwashers that barely get the detergent off of the dishes.
And I strangly question the ability of our government to do anything, much less understand the intracacies of the average appliance.
Digital healthcare devices and wearable electronic products need to be thoroughly tested, lest they live short, ignominious lives, an expert will tell attendees at UBM’s upcoming Designers of Things conference in San Jose, Calif.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.