Red may be the official color of Berlin's IFA electronics fair but companies exhibiting there have chosen to show their green side as they prepare for new EU energy conservation legislation that will take effect in 2010.

Starting in January, the European Union will require all new appliances to consume no more than 1 watt of electricity when on standby mode, and it will be cut to 0.5 watt in 2013.

Companies have paired innovative technology with vast exhibits of electronic wonders at the IFA, which is the world's oldest electronics fair, in an effort to boost their environmental credentials.

Japanese firms Fujitsu and Sony are showing off zero watt PCs, with Fujitsu displaying its patented ProGreen ESPRIM0, which uses no energy when on standby or in off-mode, on a huge Monitorbaum, a tree made of monitors.

In Sony's energy-efficient area is the Bravia Eco TV WE5, which uses back-light technology to keep energy consumption down. Also on display is the VA10 NW series computer, which has the option to turn off the display when playing music to conserve energy.

The German Environment Ministry is also participating at the fair with a display to show consumers how many appliances continue to eat up electricity after they are switched off.

We want people to know how much appliances cost for doing nothing, said Clemens Hoelter, the director of environmental group No-Energy, which is working with the government to promote energy efficiency.

The hands-on exhibit allows people to measure the energy consumption of various appliances and also shows helpful gadgets that help lower energy bills, including extension cables with foot-off switches and a zero-watt battery charger.

The display is itself energy efficient.

We've only used LED lights, said Hoelter, proudly pointing upwards. It means the whole stand can be lit using only 300 watts.


But most visitors to IFA come to marvel at the rows of glittering flat screen televisions.

LED television market leader, Samsung, whose exhibition takes up one entire hall, has erected a mammoth eight-leaf monument made up of 128 flat screens, 16 TVs per leaf.

Fellow South Korean company, LG, is showcasing its picture quality by rapidly streaming photographs of nature's wonders on its TV screens.

Panasonic Europe CEO Laurent Abadie said shoppers were still looking mainly at design, screen size and picture quality when buying a TVs. Energy efficiency was less important to them, he said.

However, product advisors working at the booths said that energy efficiency was gradually rising up the list of consumer priorities.

Last year it was a bit of a slow burner, said Ariane Kiesouw at Samsung's stand. But this year every second person asks how many watts the television sets consume.

Ralf Hustet, 23, on the hunt for a new LCD television as a treat for himself this Christmas, said he was looking at greener technology as a way to save money.

As electricity costs money, energy efficiency is definitely up there on my list of criteria, he said.

(Editing by Karen Foster)