While the world eagerly searches for new ways to conserve energy, a 25-year old solution that instantly cuts in half the energy consumption of most modern electronic products remains largely ignored.
The Obama Administration has promised to explore all avenues to improve America’s energy conservation. The spectrum of hoped-for solutions ranges from the mundane-(automobile CAFE standards) to the magical (the long-hoped-for cold fusion). What almost all of these solutions have in common is that they are hugely expensive and will take years – maybe even generations – to implement.
Meanwhile, literally tomorrow the electronics industry could begin shipping a technology introduced in the early 80′s that now would add less than one dollar to the cost of most electronic devices – TV set, computer, set top box, BlueRay player, printer, DSL router, etc- and yet could reduce their net energy consumption in half. That technology, called PFC (power factor correction), replaces the traditional AC adapter, and “fools” the device into using electrical current more efficiently. By reducing the energy typically lost through copper wires, the power savings from PFC can be spectacular: up to 50 percent. Multiply this by the massive number of electronic devices used around the world today and the benefits become epic.
So why, in its quest to be appear fashionably green, hasn’t the consumer electronics industry rushed to voluntarily adopt power factor correction? The answer, regrettably, ranges from ignorance to indifference.