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Score a Touchdown with ENERGY STAR!

By Latosha Thomas

You don’t have to be an NFL Hall of Famer to know that the Super Bowl is more than just a game… It’s an experience (we all know that the commercials are the real champions)! There’s nothing quite like sitting in the stands and watching two teams fight for the glory that comes with winning that game. However, the majority of us will be tuning in from the comfort of our homes. Want to make that Super Bowl experience even better by saving some energy and money while also helping to protect the climate? Then kickoff your Super Bowl with the following tips!

  • More and more people are watching the game online- an average of 528,000 viewers per minute streamed the game last yesuper bowl imagear. [Source: Foxsports.com] Streaming with electronic equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR uses 25-30% less energy than standard equipment. If possible, avoid streaming through a game console. Streaming through a game console uses 10 times more energy than streaming through a laptop or tablet.
  • Optimize your TV settings- Make sure your TV’s automatic brightness feature—if it has one — is enabled. Reducing the brightness of a TV by employing ambient light control features can reduce power consumption by up to 30 percent. Also, keep in mind that out of all settings on your ENERGY STAR qualified TV, keeping default picture settings guarantees energy savings.
  • Look for ENERGY STAR certified products – Many people buy new TVs or sound equipment in time to host Super Bowl parties. If you’re in the market for some new A/V gear or a TV, look for the little blue label! A home equipped with TVs, set-top boxes, a Blu Ray player and a home-theatre-in-a-box that have earned the ENERGY STAR can save more than $280 over the life of the products.
  • When the game is over, turn off your TV and cable box – Cable boxes can be a particular drain: today’s boxes operate at near full power even when the consumer is neither watching nor recording a show. As a nation, we spend $2 billion each year to power cable boxes that are not being actively used.
  • Use power strips – Plugging devices into more advanced, or ‘smart’ power strips lets you designate “always on” status for products that need to maintain a network connection, like your modem/router or pay TV set-top box. While these other products are on, the strips cut power off from devices like speakers and TVs when they are not in use.

So before you write your list of people to invite and what food to buy, consider taking simple steps to reduce your energy consumption on this night and every night. You’re sure to score big by saving dollars and the environment. What do we say to that? Touchdown!

Latosha Thomas works in communications for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. In her spare time, she enjoys Hitchcock films, anything related to the beach, and debating the impact that strawberry shortcake has made on the world.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Next-Generation Energy Efficient TV Technology is Here

OLED TV

OLED TV

By John Taylor

With football season moving into high gear, lots of us are thinking about the ultimate TV viewing experience. There are many factors to consider when looking for the perfect TV, and with today’s technology it’s possible to have it all – high picture quality and design as well as energy efficiency.

For those of you who are early adopters, you may be wondering about one of the newest TVs on the market – the OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TV.

OLED TV is the next generation in television technology, representing the most significant change in display technology since the introduction of flat-panel TVs. The TVs are ultra-thin and light weight and produce superb picture quality.

Sound’s great? It gets better.

OLED TVs mean that you don’t have to sacrifice performance and style for energy efficiency.

Although “LED” stands for “light-emitting diode” in both cases, the design of each TV is actually quite different. LED TVs simply use an array of LEDs as the backlight for an otherwise traditional LCD (liquid crystal display) TV, shining through a screen of LCD pixels. With OLED TVs, the organic layer creates its own light source for each pixel. As a result, OLED’s improvement over LED’s color, clarity and contrast ratios is quite dramatic. And even with this leapfrogging display technology, OLED TVs can be energy efficient, too.

The first ENERGY STAR certified OLED TV — the new “Curved OLED TV” from LG Electronics — went on sale in July. Among its energy-saving features is the “Smart Energy Saving” mode, which includes a sensor that automatically adjusts the display brightness according to the viewing environment. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s “Energy Guide” label, the TV has an estimated yearly energy cost of only $18.*

To learn more about the first ENERGY STAR certified OLED TV, visit lg.com/us/oled/.

* The FTC’s calculations are based on 11 cents per kWh and 5 hours use per day. Your cost depends on your utility rates and use. Visit ftc.gov/energy.

John Taylor is vice president of public affairs and communications for LG Electronics USA.  

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Dangers of Being a Couch Potato

By Sarah Bae

Back in High School, after a long day of grueling study, I would come home to flop on the couch in front of my computer and spend hours doing nothing. Sometimes my whole family would spend large parts of our vacations and weekends relaxing in front of the TV. Besides the calories accumulated from constant snacking during these times, we never thought there were possible health risks associated with our practice. But, there is one danger that enjoying the comfort of your couch can cause – the danger of indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be especially detrimental to older adults because studies show that they spend up to 90% of their time indoors. Indoor air is made up of a mix of contaminants such as secondhand smoke, fumes from household cleaning products, and more. Indoor contaminants can be dangerously toxic, especially to those already at risk of heart disease and stroke.

Wood burning stoves and fireplaces can create smoke that contains fine carbon particles which can trigger chest pain, palpitations, fatigue, and more while household products like the vapors from cleaning products, paint solvents, and pesticides can stress the lungs and heart. If your home was built before 1978, you should also make sure that there are no more traces of lead-based paint, as traces of lead can cause serious health hazards like high blood pressure. Furthermore, victims of pesticide poisonings show symptoms such as arrhythmia, a very slow pulse, or in severe cases even heart attacks. To decrease your chances of exposure to these risks, tell smokers to take it outdoors, and limit the use of wood burning stoves and fireplaces. Also use caution when working around the house by improving your ventilation when indoor painting is taking place – open the windows and take frequent fresh air breaks. Leave the house for a few days after the painting has been completed as well. Also, be careful when using pesticides and always take protective measures such as wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Change clothes and wash hands after exposure to pesticides and wash the exposed clothes separately.

About the author: Sarah Bae is a summer intern for the EPA’s Office of Public Engagement. She is a rising senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Society and Environment.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.