Energy Efficient TVs Now More The Norm

Maybe we don’t have to feel quite so guilty about our ginormous flat-screened televisions after all. According to an industry-group study, they’re a lot more energy efficient than they used to be.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which commissioned the study, said the research and tech consultanting firm TIAX looked at the power use in popular digital LCD and plasma televisions dating back as far as 2003. In both active and standby modes, the power-draw declines were huge: LCD active power use fell 63 percent since 2003 and standby power use declined by 87 percent since 2004; plasma active power use was down 41 percent since 2008 and standby use fell 85 percent in the same time frame.

big-screen televisions, energy efficiency, Philips

image via Philips

“To put the gains in context,” the CEA said, “the average TV sold in 2010 consumes less energy than a 100 watt incandescent light bulb and less power than what is needed to light a typical living room.” The organization noted that TVs should become only more efficient, too, as LED sets become more commonplace.

“Many consumers don’t realize they can replace an old analog TV with a new flat-panel digital TV that uses less energy,” said Douglas Johnson, vice president of technology policy, CEA. “Power consumption in TVs has fallen dramatically in the relatively short history of digital television thanks to the success of the Energy Star program combined with technological innovation, industry competition and consumer demand.”

The full report is available for download on the CEA website.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.