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Ways to Improve TV and Computer Energy-Efficiency

Computer and TV entertainment systems

Entertainment systems and appliances cover a broad range of products, including televisions, computers and computer monitors, audio speakers, and gaming systems, and are things we use almost every day. While catching up on the latest show on Netflix, or gaming with friends for a few hours, might seem like a great way to pass the time, it’s also a great way to increase your energy bill. Find out how your streaming, surfing, and gaming habits influence your energy consumption and ways to reduce your energy usage, by reading more below.

Energy-efficient TVs and computer ratings

In Australia, certain home appliances, including entertainment systems, are subject to regulation and energy efficiency requirements before being able to be sold. This regulation includes Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), which specify the minimum energy performance level an appliance needs to meet, and/or an Energy Rating Label.

Does my entertainment appliance come with an Energy Rating Label?
  MEPS Energy Rating Label
Computer monitor    
Videogame consoles    

An Energy Rating Label is a star-rating system used in Australia so consumers can quickly compare different home appliances to find the more energy-efficient choice. This label comes with either 1-6 or 1-10 stars, with each star meaning a higher energy efficiency rating. When it comes to home entertainment products, such as TVs or computer monitors, it’s important to consider that these Energy Rating Labels can only be used to compare appliances of the same size. For example, you could compare two 55-inch televisions, but not a 55-inch and a 60-inch television.

When comparing energy efficiency, it’s also important to consider the energy consumption of your television, computer, or other home entertainment product. If, for example, two 55-inch televisions have a 6-star Energy Rating Label, but one uses 500kWh per year, and one uses 550kWh per year, you’ll want to choose the television that uses 500kWh per year because while it has the same energy efficiency rating, it uses less energy overall.

Why should I care if my TV or computer is energy efficient?

Choosing an energy-efficient product can reduce your energy bill, plain and simple. Energy efficiency is rated based on how much energy your appliance uses per year: the more energy efficient it is, the less energy you use. This directly translates to spending less money on your energy bills.

Energy-efficient appliances, no matter if they’re a refrigerator, dishwasher, or clothes dryer, usually cost more upfront than choosing a less efficient model. However, that cost is often recouped over the lifetime of your appliance, as you spend less energy using it. Not only this, but energy-efficient appliances are also better for the environment. Reducing your carbon emissions, even by a little, can add up to a lot.

Energy consumption of TVs and computers

Home entertainment products, such as TVs and computers, might not seem like they use a lot of energy. However, choosing a more efficient home entertainment appliance can save you hundreds of dollars over their lifespan. Below is a table of the energy consumption and cost of different sized televisions and computer monitors, with different energy efficiency ratings, so you can see just how much you’d save switching to a more energy-efficient model. It’s important to note that these are based on averages, including average usage and average energy rates, and your lifestyle and habits will affect these numbers.

TV energy consumption
TV size Energy Rating Label Annual Energy Usage Annual Energy Cost
40-inch 3-star 273 kWh per year $83.85 per yea
50-inch 3-star 419 kWh per year $128.74 per year
40-inch 5-star 175 kWh per year $53.66 per year
50-inch 5-star 268 kWh per year $82.40 per year
50-inch 6-star 215 kWh per year $65.92 per year
60-inch 6-star 306 kWh per year $93.92 per year

Source: energyrating.gov.au. Based on an average usage of 2hrs/weekday and 4hrs/weekend day. Average energy usage rate of 30.7c/kWh.

Computer energy consumption
Computer monitor size Energy Rating Label Annual Energy Usage Annual Energy Cost
20-inch 3-star 76 kWh per year $23.37 per year
25-inch 3-star 114 kWh per year $35.09 per year
20-inch 5-star 49 kWh per year $14.96 per year
25-inch 5-star 73 kWh per year $22.46 per year
25-inch 6-star 59 kWh per year $17.97 per year
30-inch 6-star 80 kWh per year $24.71 per year

Source: energyrating.gov.au. Based on an average usage of 4hrs/weekday and 4hrs/weekend day. Average energy usage rate of 30.7c/kWh.

Want to find out the running cost of your home appliance?

Find the cost of running your home appliance. If your appliance size is in watts, not kilowatts, divide that number by 1,000. For example, if your home appliance size is 2,400W, it would be 2.4kW. You can find your usage rates on your most recent energy bill. If your usage rates are 25c/kWh, for example, use 0.25/kWh

Hours per day

How to reduce the energy consumption of my TV and computer system

Regardless of the energy efficiency of your TV, computer, or home entertainment system, there are ways to reduce their energy consumption. Here are all the tips and tricks for keeping your energy usage down, no matter how much Netflix you watch.

 Choose the right screen: Plasma TVs might have been great in the past, but they are far less energy efficient than LED or LCD. As technology advances, not only are LED and LCD, or OLED TVs more energy-efficient, they are also thinner and have better picture quality than their plasma counterparts.

 Screen size: While we all want to experience having an in-home cinema, choosing the biggest TV screen means less energy efficiency. It makes sense that the bigger the screen, the more power that’s needed to display the picture on that screen.

 Screen brightness: If you don’t need the brightness of your TV or computer screen turned up all the way, try turning it down a bit. A dimmer screen uses less energy than one with its brightness at 100%.

 Avoid sleep mode or standby: While it might be easier to just switch your entertainment system to sleep mode or standby while you're off washing clothes or messing about the house, it will still draw energy from your home. Switch your TV, computer, or gaming system off completely so it isn’t zapping energy when you’re not using it. If you have a total-home entertainment system or a full-home office, get one of those surge protectors with a power switch to make shutting it down even easier.

 Turn it off: This might seem obvious but turn off the TV or computer when you’re not actually using it. If you need to fall asleep with the TV on, make sure to set an automatic shut off so it isn’t running all night.

 Unplug: If you’re using a laptop or other portable electronic device with a battery, unplug it once it’s at 100%. Otherwise, it’ll continue to draw unnecessary power while it’s plugged in to keep its charge at 100%.

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