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Make it an Energy-Efficient Super Bowl This Year

Save Energy While Enjoying the Big Game on an Energy-Efficient Flat-Screen TV

January 23, 2013

The week before Super Bowl is an opportune time to buy a flat-screen TV, according to CNN, because sales average 10 percent or more off the listed price, as manufacturers and retailers try to move excess inventory by enticing customers to watch the big game on a new screen. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recommends looking for ENERGY STAR® qualified TVs, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that most consumers say energy efficiency will be a factor in choosing their next television.

Given that Nielsen reportsLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. Americans watch about 34 hours of television a week, it’s important to consider that some ENERGY STAR models save more energy than others. The EPA currently requires larger TV sets to meet more stringent efficiency levels to earn the ENERGY STAR label. A 60-inch ENERGY STAR TV for instance will use nearly 40 percent less energy than a non-ENERGY STAR model. There are also a number of flat-screen technologies, such as LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and plasma. These tips from NYSERDA will help you find the right TV for enjoying the big game and saving on energy costs:

Pick your picture quality.

  • “Pixels” (short for “picture element”) are small dots that make up the picture display. TVs with more pixels provide a sharper image. 
  • Compare contrast ratios. Contrast ratio is a measure of color representation (how the color information appears against a dark background). The higher the number, the better the color representation. 
  • Digital televisions display a higher-resolution picture than most analog TVs and can take advantage of the picture improvements offered by today’s DVD players.

Know your flat-screens. 

  • Plasma TVs are “emissive” displays because the panel is actually self-lighting. The gas (plasma) in the television uses electricity to cause the TV pixels to glow, creating images. 
  • LCD TVs are known as “transmissive” displays because the light isn’t created by the liquid crystals themselves. On the contrary, a light source (bulb) behind the panel shines light through the display. LCD TVs are generally more efficient than plasma TVs. LCDs that use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as backlights are more efficient than LCD TVs that use a fluorescent backlight.

Always think about energy savings.

  • Manufacturers have improved standby efficiency, which is an option for those with a new TV. If you have an older model, standby mode may be using energy unnecessarily.
  • Make sure the brightness of your TV is right for your room, as the factory settings are typically brighter than necessary.
  • For new TVs, make sure you switch on the ambient light sensor – it will adjust the contrast of the TV if you’re watching it in a darker room and can reduce power consumption automatically. Some energy-efficient TVs also have an energy-saving feature that, in most cases, dims the backlight of the flat screen to save power.

Don’t forget power strips.

  • Not only is it important to buy an efficient TV, it is also a good idea to purchase an advanced power strip to manage the power that your TV and electronics use. These power strips shut off stand-by load that is consumed when electronics and appliances are turned off. This simple, affordable device is a smarter version of the traditional power strip.
  • Plugging your televisions, DVD players, home stereos and gaming consoles in an advance power strip cuts the power to all this technology whenever you turn off your TV.

Bonus Tips:

  • The Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative, a program of the Clean Energy Ministerial and a task within the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation, recently created a Global Efficiency Medal in the Emerging Technology category for high-efficiency TVs. Take a look at the models that received the Global Efficiency Medal for being the “best of the best” in energy efficiency http://www.superefficient.org/AwardsLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..
  • A 42-inch LCD TV used three hours a day, five days a week each year completely consumes the savings generated by two ENERGY STAR qualified CFL energy-efficient bulbs. If you plan to buy a big screen TV and don’t want to see your electric bill go up, invest in ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs. Visit http://www.nyserda.ny.gov or call 1-877-NY-SMART for more energy-saving tips.

About NYSERDA

NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.

Last Updated: 10/15/2014