Five of the major mobile phone manufacturers have launched a common energy rating system for phone chargers to help consumers make greener choices.
The star rating system compares the energy consumption of various chargers and has been developed and supported jointly by LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung Electronics and Sony Ericsson.
Chargers use transformers and continue to draw power when connected to the mains, even if a phone is not plugged in or is fully charged. It is estimated that around two thirds of the energy used by mobile devices is wasted in this way.
The new rating system indicates how much energy each charger uses when left plugged into the wall socket after charging is completed.
The group of manufacturers was initially created as part of a European Commission Integrated Product Policy pilot looking at how different industries could reduce the environmental impact of their products and allow consumers to make better choices.
The ratings are based on the European Commission's energy standards for chargers and the internationally recognised Energy Star standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency in the US.
They will cover all chargers currently sold by the five companies, and range from five stars for the most efficient down to zero stars for the least efficient. The ratings will be reviewed regularly and developed further in order to drive improvements.
The group reckons that, with over three billion people using mobile devices, if everyone used a four or five star charger it could save the equivalent of the energy produced by two medium sized power plants annually.
All of the participating manufacturers will post details for all of their chargers on their respective web sites. Many of the manufacturers are also working on other ways to reduce energy consumption, such as visual alerts to remind people to unplug the charger from the mains when the battery is full.
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