How can loudspeakers be more energy-efficient, especially if they’re being powered by separate amplifiers? Speaker company Klipsch says it has the answer with its horn-based models that produce more sound by using less amplifier power.
Klipsch says its speakers can produce 3 to 6 decibels more sound output that typical speakers, using the same amount of power. Though any speaker with a higher sensitivity rating—measured in decibels—will produce more sound pressure (decibels) at lower power outputs, which can result in energy savings.
Here’s why: Every 3-db increase in sensitivity is equivalent to doubling the amplifier power, so a speaker with a 90db sensitivity at 50 watts of power can provide the same amount sound pressure levels as a speaker with a sensitivity of 87db at 100 watts of power. A 6db difference, Klipsch says, reduces amplifier power fourfold, cutting your amplifier electricity use by 75 percent. (Which is the better speaker depends on a host of other factors, of course.)
Keep in mind that a speaker’s sensitivity rating should not be confused with its “efficiency” rating, which measures how well the loudspeaker uses the electrical power that is driving it.
According to Klipsch, “if all of these homes [in the United States with home theaters or stereo equipment] used Klipsch products, our nation could save 764,400 megawatt hours per year—many nuclear power plants are in the 7,000,000 megawatt hours range per year. Also, if everyone used Klipsch speakers, the U.S. would save the equivalent of burning 1.12 million barrels of oil per year in a fossil fuel power plant.”
Klipsch also says that all of its products are RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) compliant, “meaning they do NOT contain substances that are harmful to humans or the environment. The company has also made energy improvements to its RoHS-compliant production plants, using more efficient heat sources and insulation.”
In addition, the company says it is considering equipping its Arkansas plant with solar power and investigating new finishing processes that have lower volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions and waste byproducts.
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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