Green and Gadgets, The Best of Both Worlds

I'll be the first to admit I was skeptical last year when Loni started racing towards a green utopia; researching solar, hybrids, vegetable farming. Initially...

I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical last year when Loni started racing towards a green utopia; researching solar, hybrids, vegetable farming. Initially I suspected a lot of consumer marketing was at work, much like the organic trend. However, I’ve gradually come around, especially now that we’re reaping the benefits of the solar project.

Small everyday decisions about food, energy consumption and products can make a big impact over time. The best part is it can be a win-win: you save money, and reduce impact on the environment at the same time. Ok, I’m not about to change my gadget (and car)-loving ways just yet, but I do see the world with an evironmental angle.

So now I find myself checking power consumption of various electronics around our house, seeking ways to use technology and gadgets to minimize energy use. The amazing thing I’ve discovered is that saving energy can have minimal impact on day-to-day life, and in some cases actually enhance it. For example, we have Smarthome lighting that is computer controlled and provides automated scheduling. The system also dims lights (which saves energy) and ensures lights are off when no-one is around. A future project will be to add automated blinds so that sun can be blocked depending on time of day to optimize interior temperature.

Which brings me to the subject of this entry: home theater energy consumption. Although Loni is reluctant to admit it, she enjoys the home theater but pretends it’s “my project” and is quick to question how much energy it is drawing (interestingly enough the NHL playoffs seem to be more of an energy issue, than say… HGTV or “romantic comedies”). So I did some online research to compare energy consumption of projector-based systems to standard TVs. The results were actually surprising.

Our projector currently throws a 120″ picture. It consumes approximately 220W of energy, even less when “dimmed” for late night cinema mode viewing. I found a great CNET report that compares various LCD, plasma and rear-projection HDTV power consumption. I learned that our projector is approximately equivalent to a 46″ TV! Not bad. And in fact a lot of TVs consume twice the energy of our system.

While I’m not suggesting that our home theater is somehow a model of energy efficiency, rather, relative to other TVs, it can draw the same or less. And that gives me enough evidence to convince Loni for now that watching the big screen isn’t so bad, and she should be thankful for my gadget and electronics hobby that makes our everyday lives that much better… well, at least it sounds ok in theory.

Here’s the complete CNET report on HDTV power consumption, including power-saving tips:

Explore. Create. Live. Follow Stark Insider on Twitter and Facebook. Join our 9,000 subscribers who read SI on tablets and smartphones on Google Newsstand. Prefer video? Subscribe to 
Stark Insider on YouTube, the largest arts & travel channel in San Francisco.