New cable, satellite and telecommunications set-top boxes that have earned the Energy Star label are at least 30 percent more energy-efficient than conventional models. The new specification became effective Jan. 1.

If all set-top boxes sold in the United States met the new Energy Star specification, the savings in energy costs would grow to about $2 billion each year and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by the equivalent of those from about 2.5 million vehicles. EPA has worked with cable, satellite, and telecommunications companies that deliver television and video content to homes via set-top boxes, bringing energy and cost savings to their customers. Most set-top boxes are given to the consumer as part of their contract with a service provider, rather than sold independently at retail stores.

AT&T and DIRECTV are the first to sign on as Energy Star cable, satellite and telecommunications partners. These companies have improved the energy efficiency of a significant number of their set-top boxes and will offer newly-qualified boxes to subscribers or upgrade boxes already in homes. Cisco, Motorola, and Pace plc. are the first manufacturers to offer Energy Star qualified set-top boxes.

Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 50 different kinds of products, new homes as well as schools and commercial buildings. Products that have earned the Energy Star prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the government. In 2007 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved more than $16 billion on their utility bills while reducing the annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 27 million vehicles.