It’s fairly common knowledge at this point that the most prudent and cost effective way to utilize our resources and preserve the environment is to simply use less.Appliances have made leaps and bounds in energy consumption in the last few generations, so much so that a new refrigerator or washing machine will literally pay for itself in just a few years in energy savings. And if for some crazy reason that isn’t enough to close the sale, you are helping to preserve resources and thus the environment by using less electricity.
When it comes to actually influencing individual change in the environment preservation realm, the old school approach of “guilting” people into making more environmentally choices simply doesn’t work, or rather, there’s a much more effective way of influencing people to make significant change on a global scale. In our opinion, the following criteria must be met to make a call to action highly effective:
1. It must be simple & easy – people are much more likely to recycle if a blue bin is right there, rather than having to drive to a dump, which is also ironic considering your expending gas to do so.
2. It must be mutually beneficial – lets face it: Being motivated to take action simply because it’s what someone ought to do will only go so far. There has to be an individual benefit, a great example being less energy expense on a new generation ecofriendly appliances.
3. It must show quantitative results – people like to see the difference their making, be it a reduced energy bill, a lowered carbon footprint, or whatever
We’re going to talk about this in terms of one of the most used household appliances in the world – the TV. Chances are you’re eventually going to be in the market for a new TV sometime in the next few years, and while it can be exciting to think about all the cool features that a high end smart TV has, you’re probably thinking about how much juice it’s going to need, and how much it will cost you, and cost the planet. Let’s talk about the different smart TV models that are popular right now, and how they compare to one another in terms of power consumption, which will help you make a prudent choice when the time comes to get a next generation TV.
CHECK THE TV ENERGY GUIDE LABEL
This should be your first consideration to get a basic idea of what a TV will cost you. The Federal Trade Commission mandates that every appliance has this yellow sticker. Each sticker on a TV will give a range of estimated annual cost based on 11 cents/kWh and 5 hours of use each day – a pretty good baseline estimate of the average American.
ADDITIONAL FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Don’t just look at the sticker and stop there, though, because the last thing you want is to open up your electric bill only to find out that you’re paying up the nose for a TV that you thought would have a negligible power cost. Here are some other details that might be overlooked by the average consumer:
• Utility Costs and Daily Usage – the figures a yellow energy guide sticker are based on might not be accurate to you. Take into account your local electricity cost & daily usage
• Picture Settings – many videophiles out there will likely optimize their new TV with custom picture settings, which will use more power than what the baseline yellow sticker stats are based on.
• Size – bigger TVs will use more electricity
• Picture Type – most modern Smart TVs are LED based, which are for the most part very energy efficient, but Plasma TVs are still widely considered to produce the best quality picture, but use significantly more power.
SHOULD I GET AN LED OR PLASMA TV?
Aside from power usage, there’s a wide variety of pros and cons between the two technologies. Here’s a good article on the subject for a full breakdown comparing an LED TV to a Plasma TV. In summary, though, Plasma produces better picture quality, but uses more power, especially when it has to glare at full brightness to overcome a bright room. If you want to save all you can on utility costs, get an LED TV, especially if you plan on watching in a bright room. If you want awesome picture quality and don’t mind paying more, get a Plasma, but think about our talking points from above to consider how much it will cost you to run each year.
Most new smart TVs are very energy efficient, and will cost the user less than $10/month to run based off the energy guide sticker metrics (source). However, don’t take those guidelines as gospel – if you adjust the picture settings, watch bright programs all day, and live in an area with expensive utilities, it’s entirely possible to end up easily paying triple or more than the energy guide number. It’s impossible to exactly tell what that figure will be, but hopefully you can get a decent approximation based on the guidelines we’ve set.