Of all the household electronic goods Australians use, we use our televisions the most. For this reason, the Energy Star rating of our home televisions is particularly important. For purposes of establishing a TV Energy Rating, Energy Star assumes that the average television set will be in operation for 10 hours per day. The potential environmental impact of such high usage is obvious.
For this reason, the Australian government mandated that as of 1 October, 2009, all televisions offered for sale in Australia must meet Minimum Energy Consumption Standards (MECS) of at least 1 Star on the Energy Star labeling system. By October 2012, the MECS TV Energy Rating is set to increase to 4 Stars.
The Energy Star rating system is far more complex than you might imagine. Even the definitions of a TV tuner and monitor require several paragraphs of text. From there, it gets even more complicated. The Star Rating Index (SRI) is arrived at through a logarithmic equation. For most of us, the equation is not important, but it is important to know that they do not simply plug the TV in for a year and measure how many kilowatts of energy it consumes.
The TV Energy Rating is established through measuring and comparing a television’s energy consumption against the Base Energy Consumption (BEC) rating of 1 (the MECS). This is done both for the assumed 10 hours a day of active viewing and the other 14 hours when the TV is in standby mode. This last fact is very important, because many consumers assume that when the television is turned off, it is not consuming electrical energy. In fact, it can still be consuming quite a lot.
A very important part of the equation Energy Star uses for arriving at a TV Energy Rating is the Energy Reduction Factor (ERF). This factor is 20%. In plain English, a television with a TV Energy Rating of 4 annually consumes 20% less energy than a TV with an Energy Rating of only 3. That is a big difference and one that is worth bearing in mind when you are shopping for a new television.
Finally, Energy Star does not play favourites in their TV Energy Rating System. While screen size is a factor in the comparative labelling system, whether a television is an HDTV or not is not a factor. The aim of the Energy Star TV Energy Rating system is to compare “apples with apples,” not “green apples with red apples.”
When it all comes out of the logarithmic wash, we, the consumers get a very accurate understanding of a television’s energy consumption from its TV Energy Rating. Since greenhouse emissions are something we should all be concerned about, so should our TV Energy Rating. Because we all like to save on our energy bill, it should be one of our primary considerations when purchasing a television. Fortunately, the majority of TVs listed on Comparison.com.au have an Energy Star rating of 4 or more. In fact, many of them enjoy an Energy Star rating of 7 or more. Unlike most other electronic goods, TVs can earn “super efficiency” Energy Star ratings of up to 10. To date, no TV has received such a high TV Energy Rating, but a few newer LCD LED TVs have very impressive ratings of 8 Stars and at least one model even has a 9 Star rating.