Saturday, July 14, 2007

More Energy Efficient Light Bulbs but not TVs

The gains in energy efficiency being made by replacing the familiar incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents that use much less electricity are probably being wiped out and then some by replacement of cathode ray TVs with large screen plasma or LCD TVs which use far more electricity. Add in all the new gizmos with rechargeable batteries and it is hard to see how we can carry out Al Gore’s pledge item 3 “To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the CO2” without leaving ourselves in the dark. Since it is very expensive to trap CO2 and the technology for storing it safely is not yet proven and may never be the pledge may really mean no new coal plants period. All the more reason to stress energy efficiency.

The British seem to be more worried about this problem than we are here in the US. A recent article in the Guardian on report by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) said the following:

The proliferation of home entertainment equipment such as flat screen TVs, digital radios and laptops in homes means that by 2020 this type of technology will account for 45% of domestic electricity use.

The running cost of today's plasma and LCD screen TVs can be as much as three times that of traditional cathode ray tube sets. The largest domestic plasma TV on the market - with a massive 103 in screen - has a power rating of 1.5kw, which means watching it uses as much energy as leaving 25 light bulbs on.

This means 14 power stations will be required just to power equipment used for communication and entertainment, the EST said in its report the Ampere Strikes Back.

Al Gore has done a great job in educating the public about the threat of global warming but he has yet to make the same impact with regard to educating us about energy efficiency. Should he tell us to stop buying all these large screen TVs? So far I don’t think he has. Where is the US version of the Ampere Strikes Back? All we seem to have in America is millions of people buying giant TVs to watch the Empire Strikes Back, etc. At the rate we are going what we are going to have is the climate striking back.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Great post/topic. Energy efficient devices/technologies are going to be crucial in driving down consumption. Lighting is such a big part of how the U.S. and world are using energy, so we need to keep improving those technologies. CFLs are a good answer for now, but OLEDs are another technology that may change the landscape in a few years.

GE and Konica mentioned they should have OLED white lighting in a few years.

OLED technology, as it improves, could also be used in the home theater realm as well.

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