The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its new rating system for energy-efficient televisions on November 1st, deeming 229 models Energy Star-compliant. New guidelines address the "phantom load," or energy drain when switched "off." According to The Daily Green, "275 million TVs in American account for a staggering 4 percent of electricity consumed" and "some models can consume as much as a refrigerator, traditionally the most electricity-hungry appliance in the home. That means that not only is the price tag of the television you buy important, but its ongoing energy costs." Before you buy a new TV, visit the Energy Star Web site for a list of compliant televisions, which are more than 30 percent more efficient than non-compliant sets.
I am very glad that Energy Star has updated ratings for TV's. Energy Star has ratings for a wide range of household appliances and lighting and even has a system to label individual houses. However, keep in mind that Energy Star ratings compares specific items (and houses) with others in the same classification. You can have an Energy Star mansion, but is that really the best green choice? Looking at the ES-rated TV's, you can choose from TV's that are expected to produce between 41 and 751 kilowatt-hours per year. Start with the Energy Star label, but don't forget to research the expected energy use for whatever Energy Star approved product you buy.