Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dreaming of a large screen TV?

This is something to consider if you're in the market for a new television, especially one of those behemoth plasma models.
European Union countries are close to agreeing upon minimum energy performance standards for televisions, according to reports this week in the British press. It’s likely the largest plasma models will be outlawed under the new requirements because of the extraordinary amount of electricity these units consume.

On the whole, plasma televisions use about 50 percent more power than those with liquid crystal displays.
Yikes. That's a lot of energy being consumed, especially if your household is anything like mine and the television stays on whether it's being watched or not. Exactly how much energy is being wasted? the US, 275 million televisions gobble up as much electricity as is produced by 10 coal-fired power stations.
According to the NYT, the creation of national efficiency standards for televisions is in stand-by mode in this country, although California regulators are proposing state standards that would require all new TVs use 50 percent less energy by 2013.

In the meantime, if you're worried about the environment and your electric bill, there are a couple of things you can look for when buying a television. The familiar Energy Guide labels provide specific information on how much electricity an appliance is likely to use annually and how much the operating costs are likely to be; however, the standards used for television efficiency date back more than 30 years.

A better choice according to the EPA is to look for the Energy Star label.
Televisions that meet the new Energy Star specification will be up to 30 percent more energy efficient than conventional models. If all televisions sold in the United States met the new Energy Star requirements, the savings in energy costs would grow to be about $1 billion annually and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by the equivalent of about 1 million cars.
More information about Energy Star televisions (and other products) can be found here. Energy efficiency does make a difference. The EPA said "in 2007 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $16 billion on their energy bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 27 million vehicles."

(Cross-posted at Blogging for Michigan.)

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