Today’s entertainment systems are complex. A typical system might include a television; disc players for CD, DVD and Blu-ray; audio amplifiers; external CD or MP3 connectors; and a set-top box to deliver a cable signal. These systems use energy, many even when they are turned off.
That energy adds up. A recent California study says that television-related activity can consume as much as 10 percent of the energy used by an average household in the state. Canadians’ consumption is probably comparable, given that we average more than two televisions per household. Such consumption not only raises our energy costs but also puts unnecessary strain on our electricity infrastructure.
The bigger a television screen, the more energy it uses. A 52-inch (in.) liquid crystal display (LCD) uses about twice as much power as a 32-in. model. The type of television you buy makes a difference, too. Plasma televisions can use as much as two to three times the electricity to produce an image of the same brightness as an LCD model. Add in other devices, and your energy consumption creeps up. Even when your system is powered down, energy continues to flow into it. Known as standby power, this uninterrupted supply of electricity powers such features as clocks, timers, remote controls and set-top boxes that are always on or ready to receive information.
What can you do to reduce your system’s energy consumption?
- Only buy what you know you will need. Limit your devices to ones you know you will really use.
- Pick a screen and sound system that fits with the size of your viewing or listening area.
- Make sure your television’s brightness setting is on “home mode.” It uses about 25 percent less energy than the brighter setting that retailers use for display.
- Plug all your devices into a power bar that you can easily reach, and switch it off when you are not using your system.
Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol when you shop and when you choose a cable service provider. That way you will be sure you are getting the best return for your energy dollar from your home entertainment system. Stringent specifications on ENERGY STAR qualified equipment apply to most of the ways your system can use energy, whether it is for imaging, stand-by power, audio amplification and more. ENERGY STAR is available for a full range of the products you will need to make your entertainment experience enjoyable, economic and energy-efficient.