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how much can new tv save you

Can a New TV Save You Money?

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Dec 23, 2020

The television is on for over a quarter of the day in many North American homes. One report by the New York Daily News estimates that the average American watches over five hours of television each day, or 40% of their daily free time. Another Scientific American report finds that the average American household has 2.86 television sets per home, up from 1.57w and 2.0 in 1957 and 1990, respectively. While the sociological, educational, and behavioral effects of excessive screen time for both children and adults are well documented, very few people stop considering the ecological and energetic footprint of keeping our TVs on for long hours during the day. Below, we look at some of the energetic (and economic effects) of televisions and offer suggestions on lowering the TVs' footprints in our homes.

Table of Contents

  1. How Do Old TVs Compare To New Models?
  2. How Much Energy Do TVs Use?
  3. CRT Televisions
  4. DLP Televisions
  5. Plasma Televisions
  6. LCD Televisions
  7. LED Televisions
  8. OLED Televisions
  9. How Much Can A New TV Save You?
  10. How Much Do Energy Star TVs Save You?

How Do Old TVs Compare To New Models?

As with most appliances in our homes, televisions are becoming increasingly more energy efficient. LED and OLED models (which we will explain in more detail below) consume significantly less energy than the older box and tube-style TVs of our childhood.

TVs are also getting much bigger than the tiny 18 or 24-inch models that donned most homes' living rooms during the 1980s. While we might try to convince ourselves that the new 64-inch plasma or LED TV is more energy-efficient than older tube models, the size of a television set has more impact on the unit's energy efficiency than the type of TV. In many cases, switching from a 24-inch tube TV to a 50-inch flat-screen or plasma model will actually increase the amount of overall energy consumed.

However, switching from older, tube-style TVs known as CRT TVs to similarly-sized flat-screen models will almost always save you energy.

How Much Energy Do TVs Use?

TVs usually only amount to 5% of the total energy consumption of a home. While sustainable homes require us to look at all of the different possibilities for lowering our energy consumption, finding ways to cut back on our heating, cooling, and lighting bills will be much more impactful than simply changing your old TV for a new one.

CRT Television
Sony FD Trinitron WEGA

CRT Televisions

These tube-style TVs are hard to find on most appliance store shelves, though a 2014 report showed that over 46% of American households still had a CRT-style TV. While these TVs are very energy efficient, they usually only consume about 80 watts of power because of their generally small size of around 19 inches. It is worth noting that these smaller, tube-sized TVs use much less energy than the larger flat-screen TVs in most of our modern-day homes, despite being much less energy efficient.

Mitsubishi DLP Television
Mitsubishi DLP Television

DLP Televisions

These TVs are also referred to as rear-projection TVs and are mostly sold in 50-inch or larger screen sizes. A typical 56-inch DLP TV uses around 175 watts of energy, making these models more energy-efficient than LED and LCD TVs of similar size.

Panasonic Plasma TV
Panasonic Plasma TV

Plasma Televisions

These types of TVs are energy hogs. While you might get a crystal clear picture, that crisp image comes with a huge energetic cost as a 42-inch plasma TV can consume upwards of 500 watts, more than a regular-sized refrigerator. In fact, California banned the sale of some of the most energy inefficient plasma TV models.

LG LCD Television
LG LCD Television

LCD Televisions

These types of TVs use the same types of monitors as computers and laptops. The most common display sizes are 32, 42, and 50-inches. While older models of these TVs consumed more energy, more recent LCD models use 60 watts for a 30 inch and 150 watts for a 50 inch LCD TV.

Sharp LED Television
Sharp LED Television

LED Televisions

LEDs are the most common type of computer, laptop, and TV display on the market today. The most common display sizes are 32, 43, 55, and 65-inches. It's also not uncommon to see 74 and 85 inches LED televisions affordably priced. LED TVs are three times more efficient than Plasma television and modestly more efficient than LCDs. A 32 inch LED television consumes roughly 50 watts versus 60 for an LCD television of similar size. LED TVs 50-inches and above are at least 30% more energy efficient at 100 watts versus their LCD television counterparts at 150 watts.

Samsung 55-inch OLED Television
Samsung OLED Television

OLED Televisions

While OLED televisions provide a superior picture quality, they do consume more energy than their LED predecessors. On average, a 55" OLED television consumes roughly 98 watts per hour per day, while an LED TV of similar size consumes 57 watts per hour per day. When comparing a 65" OLED, an LED television consumes 88 watts compared to 116 watts for the OLED per hour per day. This amounts to roughly a 53% increase in energy consumption for a 55-inch and a 40% increase for a 65" OLED television.

How Much Can A New TV Save You?

One of the most prominent and tangible benefits of switching to a more energy-efficient TV is that you will quickly begin reaping economic benefits. While a 50-inch plasma TV that is used an average of five hours a day might be costing you close to $70 a year while releasing over 1,000 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere, a newer model 32-inch LED TV might only cost you $5.60 per year while only consuming 28 watts of energy.

To calculate the potential economic savings for TVs' different types and sizes, you can use this useful (and free) TV power consumption calculator for LED and OLED TVs. If you have a different type of TV and know the power use in watts, this TV energy calculator is also helpful. Fortunately, many newer models of TVs that are being produced meet stricter energy efficiency guidelines. Energy Star certification is a US government program to certify different household appliances that meet stringent and rigorous energy efficiency standards.

How Much Do Energy Star TVs Save You?

Energy Star certified models save around 27% more energy than other models. According to the Energy Star Program, if every TV, DVD, and Soundbar purchased in the USA met their energy efficiency guidelines, we could collectively eliminate 2.8 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year.  You can find a list of the most energy-efficient and Energy Star certified TVs here.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-06-06T17:11:21+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.

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