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Home Electronics – reducing energy use

Your home electronics – TV’s and gaming systems – may be costing you much more than you think. Did you know that:

  • TV-related energy use has tripled in the last 10 years (estimate by Cal. Utility Comm’n)
  • Game consoles use almost as power in idle mode as they do while you are actively playing. If you don’t turn off a PlayStation3, for example, you are paying for about 170 watts an hour. Over the course of a year, a PlayStation3 left on continuously could cost over $200.
  • Turning off the TV does not turn off the game console. Unless the console itself is turned off, it is still in idle, using nearly full power.
  • Playstation3 and Xbox360 use 7-9 times as much power as Wii (19 watts).
  • Watching a DVD through a game console uses 4-7 times the energy as watching it through a Blu-Ray player or DVD player.
  • Source: Natural Resources Defense Council, Lowering the Cost of Play, Nov., 2008

Energy and Money saving tips for gaming: Turn it off: Save the game and turn off the console as well as the TV.  Avoid watching movies through the game console.

Big Screen Televisions

  • Most plasmas (about 200-500 watts) use 2-3 times more electricity than LCD’s. (This may vary, however. Always check power usage of individual sets. One source is CNET.com)
  • No matter what kind of TV you buy, the bigger the screen, the higher the energy usage. A 52-inch LCD uses twice the energy as a 32-inch LCD.
  • Overly bright pictures waste energy. Many TV’s (especially before 2009) were set on “bright” as the default setting. Calibrating plasmas to tone down the picture saves energy and money; LCD backlight can be adjusted to save energy.
  • Early Energy Star television ratings were based only on use of standby power, not operating power. The Nov., 2008 rating was somewhat more strict. A new EnergyStar 4.0 will be a more meaningful rating.
  • Source: CNET Energy Efficiency Guide  http://reviews.cnet.com/green-tech/tv-power-efficiency/

Energy-saving tips:

  • Keep your old TV if you can. The “old-fashioned” sets, since they are generally small, are moderate in their energy use.
  • If you do buy, look for the new EnergyStar4.0 rating (May, 2010) and buy a smaller screen.
  • Turn off the “quick start” option – this uses more standby power when the TV is off. Turn on the “power saver” mode.
  • Consider having your plasma TV calibrated and try reducing the backlight on the LCD.
  • Put your TV and other equipment on a power strip with an on/off switch to avoid phantom power.
  • What to watch for: LED lighting technology is now being used for TV’s. This saves dramatic amounts of power. Prices will come down as the technology advances. Again, smaller screens use less energy (and are less expensive).

Green Needham’s April, 2010 meeting featured a presentation and discussion on reducing your home electronics energy use. A PDF of the presentation slides is here.

Questions or comments? Post them here….

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