If everybody replaces their old TVs with plasma screens, will we have to import more energy from hostile dictatorships, build more hydro-electric dams and new nuclear power stations? The short answer is: Yes.
According to a report done by the UK’s Energy Savings Trust (a non-profit organization, funded both by government and the private sector), household appliances currently account for about one third of a household’s energy . In the organization’s report The Ampere Strikes Back, the trend toward flat-screen TVs means at least a tripling of energy used to power TVs.
Here are three pieces from the British press on the topic of flat-screen TVs (both plasma and LCD) and energy use:
Australia is also having concerns about this new TV technology in its current wasteful form.
Some flat-screenTVs are less bad than others…
CNET has compared a range of models with all the data here.
Remember: An old-fashioned (CRT) TV uses on average about 100 Watts.
The winners are:
Fewest Watts consumed (eg: least energy consuming)
Sharp LC-32D43U (Type: 32″LCD)
144.11 (Total Watts)
$44.41 (Yearly Cost)
Most efficient (Rear Projection)
154.78 (Total Watts)
$47.45 (Yearly Cost)
Most efficient (Plasma)
Vizio P42HDTV- (Type: 42″ plasma)
188.26 (Total Watts)
$58.70 (Yearly Cost)
Note: Yearly cost assumes that the TV is on for 8 hours/day and that the average price of energy in the U.S. during 2006, is 10.4 cents per kilowatt hour, according to information from the Energy Information Administration
Other measures you can take to minimize your energy draw
1. Avoid using the TV as background noise. Use your radio or your laptop instead. (Note: A surprising trend from the British report revealed that over 40% of people are listening to radio through their TVs. Bad idea).
2. Turn down the LCD’s backlight
3. Turn on the power-saver mode
4. Change the settings on the TV
5. Control room lighting
6. Own fewer TVs
7. Do something else!
8. Make your own energy by hooking it up to a bike-generator.
9. Compensate for your CO2 emissions by doing a little ‘carbon offsetting‘. You can calculate the emissions of your chosen TV and purchase ‘offsets’ that fund alternative energy generation like wind farm projects in your country. Here’s a little intro on the topic from the beloved Canadian environmentalist and biologist David Suzuki.