Energy Adviser: Seek energy savings when buying big-screen TV

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With the 46th Super Bowl football extravaganza just 10 days away, there’s time to bring home a new and larger high-definition television for game-day viewing.

While consumers generally want to buy bigger-screen TVs for the home theater experience, they are also increasingly eager to purchase more energy-efficient, technologically advanced models.

With an ongoing commitment to help customers save on energy costs, Clark Public Utilities energy counselors offer these tips on buying and operating a new television.

First, keep in mind that a 52-plus inch television will use more electricity than a 32-inch or smaller television, with some of the largest high-resolution TVs using as much electricity as a standard, new refrigerator. Size, however, is only one factor.

It is important when shopping for a television that you do a little homework and generally know what you want before walking into your nearest electronics retail store.

According to national testing and rankings, rear projection sets generally use the least amount of energy, followed by LCDs/LEDs, then plasmas. The energy consumption differences within each of these categories can be wide.

To help consumers determine energy use and efficiency, televisions began qualifying for federal Energy Star ratings in 1998. Now, an Energy Star 5.3-certified TV must consume one watt of electricity or less in “sleep mode” with “on mode” power requirements varying according to screen area. Energy Star-qualified televisions are, on average, at least 40 percent more energy efficient than standard models. To easily identify the most efficient models, look for the orange Energy Forward label, which lets you know that model is engineered to be the best of the Energy Star-qualified sets and is one of the most efficient TVs on the market. Visit Energy Efficient Electronics for more information.

Comparison chart

To make better energy-use comparisons, testers at CNET have devised a chart showing test ratings for 107 television makes and models with their annual cost of operation.

To put it in perspective, the average American household that watches 5.2 hours of television per day will spend from $30 to $65 a year per television on power consumption costs.

With average daily use steadily increasing and power costs projected to continue rising, the TV-watching expense will only grow. Some sets and the accompanying electronic equipment may cost as much as $200 a year to operate.

Savings continues

Savings energy doesn’t stop with the purchase of a new flat-screen television. There are other ways to reduce energy costs.

Here are some tips:

• Turn off the TV and connected devices such as DVD players and game consoles when they’re not being used. Connected devices must be turned off separately unless a universal remote has been programmed to turn off all equipment with a single button.

• Turn off the “quick start” option. This option can consume up to 50 times as much power while equipment sits there in standby mode.

• Turn on the power-saver mode. Many TVs come with this option but performance of this mode can vary.Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to energyadviser@clarkpud.com or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668.