EPA has said that starting May 1, 2010, TVs that carry the government’s Energy Star label are, on average, 40% more efficient than conventional models. The agency said that qualifying TVs now must use less energy when turned on, but still ensure a satisfactory level of brightness, and they must curb power associated with downloading program guide data.

Available in stores nationwide, the new TVs will help consumers save even more energy and money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and still deliver all the features and performance quality they expect, EPA said.

According to EPA, the new requirements represent its most stringent Energy Star TV specification to date and are in keeping with the agency’s commitment to making Energy Star the most effective way for customers to identify products that save the most energy.

With more than 19 million TVs with screens larger than 40 inches expected to ship to American homes in 2010, the new specifications also offer important savings in larger size TVs. The new requirements for 46 and 50 inch TV models will deliver almost 50 percent savings over conventional models of the same size.

According to the agency, if all televisions sold in the US met the new Energy Star requirements, Americans would save $2.5bn annually in energy costs while reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions of about 3 million cars.