TV saves the day (??)


When my husband learned of my new energy-saving crusade there was just one word on his lips… television.

“Ours is so old,” he complained. “I’m sure it is eating up energy like nobody’s business. What we need is a shiny, new flat-screen TV… preferably 40 inches or larger.”

I was hesitant to agree. Our TV was a big old dinosaur, but I don’t want to encourage my family to spend more time in front of the idiot box, and wouldn’t that be the result of getting a new model?

Reluctantly, I agreed to accompany him to the electronics store, ‘just to look’ at new models. Of course we left the store with something that, while not the biggest and the best, was certainly closer to my husbands vision of a television befitting a man such as he.

In the store, I was gob smacked by his expertise. A keen interest in televisions, I have decided, comes as a standard feature of the y-chromosome. I have a Ph.D. in the sciences and I work for an energy efficiency company, I should be the expert, but here he was explaining to me the difference in energy consumption between the LED and plasma models and how the energy star rating works for televisions. Here’s what I learned…

  1. As a general rule, plasma televisions use more energy than their LCD counterparts.
  2. It is easy to be misled by TV manufacturers that boast about their energy efficiency, because they’re allowed to decide on the picture settings under which the energy use test is conducted. Of course they’re going to choose the dimmest setting as the testing mode. In reality you’re going to be watching your TV at a brighter setting.
  3. Bigger means higher energy consumption, in an approximately linear way. For example, a 32 inch LCD screen uses about half the energy the 52 inch version of the same television does, which is proportional to the area of the screen (614 square inches vs. 1,440 square inches).
  4. If you’re forgetful like me, you’ll want to buy a model that uses a very small amount of energy when turned off (stand-by mode). If you’re on top of things you’ll probably remember to unplug your electronics when they’re not in use.

If you read my last post on using my SmartMeter, you’ll know that my gas and electric company gave me the power to monitor my energy consumption on an hourly basis. By comparing the base load my house used on the nights before and after the new TV arrived I was able to figure out how much we’re saving with a new, more energy efficient TV.

Much to my husband’s delight, he was right… our old TV was an energy hog, even when it was turned off. We’ve reduced our base load by 50 Watts, which might not sound like a lot, but actually equates to about 35 kW-h each month, or close to $4/month. Not something that you’d run all the way to the bank screaming about, but sufficient excitement to warrant a good old-fashioned air punch, I think.


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One Response to “TV saves the day (??)”

  1. Mike Rogers Says:

    Hey, what about a mini-fridge next to the couch so I could “save energy” but not getting up to walk into the kitchen to grab a beer while I’m watching the game on that new TV?

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