Three Quick Tips for TV Energy Efficiency

How many hours a day do you really watch TV?

If you’re like us, your TV is probably on when you’re at home. In fact, the average American watches more than 5 hours of television each day. But we’re not always watching, are we? The TV is on in the background while we’re cooing meals, cleaning the house, and getting the kids ready for school.

Because we’re always thinking about home energy performance, here are three quick tips for TV energy efficiency. You can take advantage of these today and start enjoying your home entertainment without the high electricity bills.

Three quick tips for TV Energy Efficiency

    • Is bigger better? As televisions have become larger, it makes sense that they are consuming more power when they’re in use. But most new TVs – and nearly every other piece of electronics equipment in our homes – also draw power when they’re not in use. Standby mode is the culprit here. This is a “power saving” feature that draws just enough electrical current to let the TV jump to life at the touch of a button. But it only saves power relative to the TV being in use. According to the utility company Florida Power & Light, “a new 50-inch flat screen TV uses from $23-$54 of electricity a year, with LED TVs using the least and older plasma models using the most.” Wow!Skip the power save mode and turn the TV completely off. You can use an energy efficient power strip to manage your TV, set top box, DVD player, and home theater system. Turning everything completely off when you leave the house not only saves wear and tear on your expensive electronics, it saves money on your electricity bill.

Energy Star logo

  • Buying new? See stars! Energy Star is a government program that helps consumers save money by saving energy with energy efficient electronics and appliances. Here’s what they have to say about Energy Star certified televisions:

    ENERGY STAR certified televisions are on average, over 25 percent more energy efficient than conventional models, saving energy in all usage modes: sleep, idle, and on. A home equipped with TVs, a Blu-Ray player, a compact audio system, and a home-theatre-in-a-box that have earned the ENERGY STAR, can save more than $200 over the life of the products.

    $200 more in our pockets sounds like a great deal! Look for an Energy Star certified television the next time you are shopping for a new TV.

  • Knowledge saves power! Understanding your TV’s energy usage is easy, and it can help you save money on your electricity bills each month. To find out how much electricity your TV draws, look for the manufacturer’s technical specifications in your user manual, on the rear or bottom panel of the TV, or on the manufacturer’s website. You’re looking for the number of watts the TV requires. The present Energy Star specifications for televisions require that an Energy Star certified television “consume no more than one (1.0) watt while in Standby-Passive Mode” and “On Mode power requirements vary according to screen area.” Bigger TVs will consume more electricity, so a smaller number is definitely better here.

    Alternatively, you can use an electricity usage meter such as a Kill A Watt (TM) to determine your TV’s exact electricity usage. Electricity usage meters simply count the watts your equipment and appliances use and display them to you on a built-in screen. This gives you an exact measurement of your electricity consumption.

With a little research and record keeping, you can understand and control the electricity your television, and all of your home entertainment system, is consuming. When you’re saving money on those bills, you can watch without worrying. Pass the popcorn!

Do you live energy efficiency?

Did you know that how you live can save you money on your energy costs?

When we talk about saving money on home energy costs we often talk about physical changes we can make. These might be swapping incandescent bulbs for CFLs, or buying Energy Start rated appliances when our old models break down. But this isn’t the whole story.

You don’t have to spend money to save money on your home energy bills.

Here are a few simple changes you can make to the way that you live in your home that will save money and inspire you to take the next step in home energy efficiency with your performance based energy rating from AREVS.

You can reduce the strain on your HVAC system by ensuring that your exterior ducts and equipment are clear of debris and plant growth. Good airflow inside your home needs good airflow outside, so make sure that you have a radius of at least 18 inches around all your external vents, intakes, and equipment.

Let the sun shine in! If you have windows that face south, open the drapes or shades and let the sun heat your rooms. When it’s time to cool off next summer, remember to close those drapes during the day and keep your rooms cool.

Dig out that sweater and blanket. Just lowering your thermostat a couple of degrees and adding another layer of clothing can save you big money during a heating season. According to the Department of Energy:

Each degree you lower the thermostat on your heating system decreases your fuel bill by 3 percent. Going from 72 degrees down to 68 degrees doesn’t matter much in terms of comfort, but it can save up to 12 percent on your heating bill.

It’s simple, effective, and you can thank your knitting friends for helping you make the most out of your home!

HEAT: Your First Line Energy Assessment

Explaining the benefits of energy efficiency to homeowners can be challenging, especially at the beginning of a business relationship. But when the conversation is focused on the specifics of a home and your solutions are tailored to the family’s needs it becomes easier to help them take the next steps.

Distrust is one of the single biggest reasons homeowners don’t invest in energy efficiency upgrades. Will the promised savings really materialize?

Elisa Wood asked how we can frame the conversation with homeowners and found that trust is a key issue. Simply put, if a homeowner doesn’t believe that their investment will pay off, they won’t be interested in retrofits or upgrades.

One solution is to break out the checklist and calculator, sit with the homeowner at the kitchen table, and run through the industry’s savings estimates: $40 per year with a low flow shower head; $50 per CFL; $2,000 over the life of double pane windows. And that’s the easy stuff. Get into air sealing and R-values and you may need a second cup of coffee.

We’ve used asset based home energy audits for years to quantify energy usage and envelope tightness, and we know these tools and methods work. The problem is that they are time consuming, expensive, and they also require some homeowner education before you break out the blower door.

To solve these problems, expert homebuilder Dean Durst developed the Heating Energy Assessment Tool, a first line web app that calculates actual energy used for heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. Based on utility data and envelope and appliance efficiency, AREVS estimates annual and long-term energy costs, and rates home performance three ways: on an A-F scale for easily educating the homeowner and comparing houses in the same service area, for normalizing the energy load of homes anywhere in the United States, and for pinpointing fuel and energy usage.