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December 2008 - [Sustainable Concepts] Energy Star TVs and Green Gifts
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Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter December 2008, vol. 69
in this issue
  • New ENERGY STAR Television Specifications
  • Give Green to Save Green
  • Feedback
  •        

    Greetings!

    Welcome to the December 2008 newsletter from Design Forward. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

    Quote of the Month: "We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive."
    --Albert Einstein


    Lisa A. Swan

    New ENERGY STAR Television Specifications

    by Richard Harris

    Flat screen televisions deliver dazzling pictures, but they also consume huge amounts of electricity. Some big TV sets can use more electricity than a refrigerator, even ones that meet the government's newly revised "Energy Star" efficiency standard.

    If you're shopping for a new dishwasher, you can read that yellow "energy guide" label to figure out how much electricity it'll consume. No such luck if you're shopping for a new wide-screen TV. While certain TVs do have the Energy Star efficiency sticker, some experts say even that has been misleading.

    "Energy Star was woefully behind on TVs. In order to earn the Energy Star label, it only dealt with how much power did the TV consume when it was off," says Noah Horowitz of the Natural Resource Defense Council.

    New Energy Star Ratings

    Now, for the first time, the Energy Star ratings measure the power that TVs use while they're actually on. But an Energy Star listing alone doesn't mean the TV uses less power. It only indicates that the TV is relatively efficient - within its class.

    For example, when measured with a wattmeter, the high-end Pioneer Elite, a 50-inch plasma TV, idles at about 390 watts. That's like turning on 30 compact fluorescent light bulbs all at once. And if you assume that the set will be on for five hours a day, the set consumes a lot more electricity than a typical refrigerator. When the TV is in a slightly dimmer, energy-saving mode, it only uses 300 watts, which matches its Energy Star listing.

    Still, your friendly neighborhood coal-burning power plant would emit a half-ton of carbon dioxide every year to keep this one TV on for five hours a day - and that's in energy-saving mode.

    For comparison, the 32-inch LCD in its brightest setting pulled about 115 watts. That's the equivalent of about two incandescent light bulbs or nine or 10 compact fluorescent lights.

    In part, this TV consumes less because it is smaller, but it also has an LCD screen - technology that is typically more efficient than a plasma screen, like the first set tested.

    Comment on "New ENERGY STAR Television Specifications" on Lisa's Blog.

    Article NPR

    Give Green to Save Green

    Just in time to help the cash-strapped and eco-inclined this holiday season, TreeHugger.com offer an array of affordable, eco-friendly gifts, recommendations and helpful information.

    TreeHugger.com's annual gift guide returns with "Give Green to Save Green," offering suggestions of more than 100 unique gift options designed to help the planet as well as bottom lines.

    TreeHugger's "Give Green to Save Green" (http://www.treehugger.com/giftguide/) gift guide presents a broad range of affordable options for spreading holiday cheer which come with the added benefit of reducing impact to the environment. The average American's trash output is 25 percent higher between Thanksgiving and the New Year, and household expenses are on the rise this winter. TreeHugger's timely holiday guide shows that choosing sustainable gifts can help to lessen both waste and financial strain. The "Give Green to Save Green" gift guide contains gift solutions in easy to follow categories including: Green Geek, Foodie, Fashion Buff, Wee-Hugger, Outdoors Enthusiast, The Health Nut, and more.

    With items ranging from DIY natural gum and candy kits (Glee, $13) and energy-efficient earthen cookware (La Bamba, $58) to body care products in 'plantable' packaging (Pangea Organics, $40) and great gifts for gadget junkies (home power monitor, $99), TreeHugger's gift selections are as thoughtful to their lucky recipients as they are to the earth.

    Comment on this article on Lisa's Blog

    Feedback

    Design Forward works toward promoting Sustainable Design. If you know of a project that should be featured, please contact us. Let us know why you think it should be featured and give us a basic intro to the project, the sustainable elements and any websites or contact information.

    If you would like to submit a fun and/or entertaining quote about architecture, building, the environment or such, send it in! If it at all possible, include the author.

    If you have any other feedback concerning this publication, please feel free to send an email or use the form.

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