FEATURES | envergy saving (for real)
Regarding set-top boxes, ask your cable company about replacing your current box with one that meets Energy Star’s 3.0 specifications, effective Sept. 1, 2011 . Also inquire about whole-house DVRs, which can eliminate the need for an energy - intense recording device on each TV. And unplug set-top boxes on seldom-used TVs. If you receive free , over-the-air digital TV signals via an antenna, you can even do away with the box, supplementing network broadcasts with online movies and shows streamed to an Internetconnected TV, Blu-ray player, or game console.
have improved plasma efficiency, possibly spurred by California’s 2010adoption of minimumefficiency standard for TVs. You can now find large screens that cost $70 or less per year to run, and some 42- to 46-inch models have annual operating costs around $30. But LCDs are still the most efficient type of TVs, especially those with LED instead of fluorescent backlights.
What to think twice about: Hanging onto an early-model plasma TV can be as bad as keeping an old energy-hungry refrigerator in the basement. Some of the first plasmas we tested in 2004 could cost well over $200 a year to operate. Manufacturers
What’s new: More efficient appliances perform better than older ones, and the Energy Star program has improved. Starting this year, before a product can display the Energy Star logo, it must be tested for compliance by an accredited third-party lab. In the past, manufacturers could test
Energy all-star: The 55-inch LCD Samsung UN55D65000, $1,900, has a fine picture, and its annual energy cost, $29, is almost half that of some similar models.
and certify their own products. Verification testing will soon be in full swing, ensuring that Energy Star-labeled products actually save money. And pending legislation could toughen minimum- efficiency standards for several major appliances starting in 2013.
What works: Some energysaving innobations translate into lower utility bills. Through all new refrigerators use much less energy than those made a decade ago, refrigerators with variable-speed compressors and vacuum-insulated panelsconsumed less energy in our tests. Frontloading washers use less energy and water than most top-loaders and
WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES If your household is like the national average, you can expect to spend about $2,200 thisyear on energy costs, according to the Energy Star website. Here’s a likely breakdown of how a U.S. household spends a typical energy dollar:
(includes freezers, small appliances, and electronics)
28¢ space heating and related equipment
9¢ kitchen appliances
4¢ laundry appliances
8¢ TVs, computers, and related equipment
Source: Energy Information Administration 2011 projections.
This is a magazine redesign I purposed for Consumer Reports.