Energy Star Rated Home Electronic Products

Energy efficiency and energy savings are common terms these days, and many more people are becoming aware of their home power usage. However, most homeowners don't realize the amount of energy consumed by their electronics even when they're turned OFF. It's estimated by the Energy Star program that each residence uses about $100 per year in utility costs just to keep home electronics in 'standby' mode. This includes everything that's plugged in - from computers to coffee makers, from radios to cable boxes... anything and everything that's drawing small amounts of constant power while you're working, sleeping, and not even there.

While we can't always turn these products off, Energy Star's program defines which of them use less energy than others. Home electronics earning the blue Energy Star logo already meet the EPA guidelines of using a specified percentage (based upon the type of product) less energy output than other products of similar qualifications. On larger home electronics that traditionally draw more electricity (TV's, phones, printers, DVD players...) the savings in emitted heat and greenhouses gasses would have a substantial positive impact on the environment. If every person in the US were to convert some of their home electronics to Energy Star products, the effect would be the same as taking literally hundreds of thousands of CO2 and greenhouse gas-emitting cars off the road.

Energy Star Home Electronics

In total, home electronics account for an average of 12 to 18% of residental utility usage. This sobering number is an ever-increasing one, as technology creates newer and newer must-have gadgets to make life easier. Phone chargers, battery chargers, and even the new digital cable boxes everyone is required to have as of Feburary of 2009 are all luxuries that didn't exist a decade or two ago. Yet as these products become part of everyday life, the technology to make them more energy efficient gets better as well. Energy Star rates all types of electronic products in an effort to educate environmentally-aware consumers as to which ones are greener than others. These efforts also help keep manufacturers working to make the most electronically efficient models possible.

Energy Saving Tips - Televisions by Energy Star Energy Star rated televisions are at least 30% more efficient than non-qualified models. With your TV responsible for 4% of your total home power usage, Energy Star annual savings could be between $80 and $120.

Different Varieties of Home Electronics & The Energy Star Rating

The strict guidlines set forth by the Energy Star program apply differently to each category of home electronics. Below are some of the largest offending types of products in terms of power-draw, and an outline of the different Energy Star requirements for each of them.

Televisions

It's estimated that there are between 260 and 280 millions TV's currently in use across all US households. The potential for kWh usage is staggering, which is why Energy Star requires all qualified televisions in its program to use at least 30% less energy than comparable models. This includes lowering the power draw during idle times, when the television is in 'standby' mode. As of November 2008, these standards will become even stricter, forcing manufacturers to examine how they distribute power during television downtimes.

Digital Converter Boxes & Cable Boxes

Digital-to-Analog (DTA) converter boxes are another electronic device constantly drawing power, even when the television is not even on. Energy Star's program requires DTA boxes to utilize no more than 1 watt of power while in idle or standby mode, and less than 9 watts of power while operating. Additionally, DVR boxes are another offending electronic household device that constantly draws power, especially because it can be called active at any time to automatically record a television show. These boxes however are usually provided by the cable or phone company, and are not considered by the Energy Star program.

External Power Adaptors

You know that bulky black box attached to the power cables of many of your home electronics? These AC/DC adaptors convert high-voltage to low-voltage current in order to power many devices such as laptops and video games. Energy Star rates these too, and to qualify for their program they must be 30% more efficient than standard external adaptors.

DVD Players

Always on, today's DVD player usually comes equipped with a bright LED screen displaying the current time and maybe even the TV channel. Some DVD players offer a sleep screen, meaning they all but shut down the LED when not in use. This is a desired feature by the Energy Star program, which requires that qualified DVD players use 25% or less energy than other models.

Combination TV/DVD Units

By combining your television with a DVD player, you're not only saving space in your entertainment center but you're also saving on utility bills. With one less thing to be plugged in, Energy Star encourages the use of efficient combination TV/DVD units. Models bearing the Energy Star logo must use 35% less energy than other units.

Cordless Phones & Answering Machines

Energy Star rates cordless phone products as well as answering machines. These days, models combining the two together are the most common. In order to display the blue Energy Star seal, a phone or answering machine unit must demonstrate an energy savings of at least 33% over other models of a similar type.

Energy Star Home Audio Systems

Because home audio units vary greatly in size and available features, they are often difficult to compare on an energy-saving basis. However, Energy Star units do exist, and they offer at least a 6% savings overall.


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