Green Technology
How Much Can You Save on a New TV?
One size category saves the most, if it's Energy Star.
June 12, 2009 by Steven Castle

Finally giving into the Digital TV transition and buying a new TV?

If you want to save some money now and in the future, consider buying a model that bears an Energy Star logo. That certifies that it’s more energy-efficient than other models. And that translates into more bucks in your pocket.

Hundreds of energy-saving TVs are available that meet the current Energy Star 3.0 specification, which went into effect in November 2008 and includes active “on” power requirements, as well as the requirement to use less than 1 watt of power while in standby, or “off.”

A 42-inch HDTV cannot use more than 208 watts and a 50-inch HDTV more than 318 watts while on. Even stricter standards are coming later this year.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers the following savings estimates for a new Energy Star-rated TV, based on TV usage of five hours a day, with 19 hours turned off, and when compared to a standard, non-Energy Star TV:

  • 0-20 inches—$2 a year/$19 lifetime.
  • 21-30 inches—$2 a year/$16 lifetime.
  • 31-40 inches—$6 a year/$50 lifetime.
  • 41-50 inches—$15 a year/$134 lifetime.
  • 51-60 inches—$11 a year/$101 lifetime.
  • 60 inches+—$23 a year/$211 lifetime.

As you can see, the 60-inch-plus Energy Star TVs save the most money, but the numbers are relative. Remember, the 60-inch-plus sets are using a lot more energy, even if they are Energy Star-rated. (TVs met the standard according to screen size). Energy Star TVs in the 41-50-inch category, which includes the multitude of 42-inch and 50-inch flat-panel TVs, actually save slightly more percentage-wise when compared to their non-Energy Star brethren.

The 41-to-50-inch category actually sees energy savings of about 23 percent a year, when compared with a standard new TV, while the 60-inch sets save 21 percent over non-Energy Star sets. Energy Star TVs in the 41-to-50-inch category use 441 kilowatt hours (kWh), a year, compared to non-Energy Star TVs using 573 kWh a year. Meanwhile, even Energy Star 60-inch sets use a whopping 776 kWh a year. With the exception of 60-inch-plus Energy Star TVs, the EPA says 41-to-50-inch sets also save the most carbon dioxide, to the tune of 203 pounds of emissions per year. The EPA says the 60-inch or more sets save 320 pounds of CO2 per year.

And if you’re tossing out your old TV, read how you can recycle it responsibly.



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Steven Castle - Contributing Writer
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates.

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