The Environmental Protection Agency first introduced the Energy Star program in 1992 to encourage the development of more energy efficient personal computers and computer monitors. The program has since expanded to cover more than 50 product categories. Yesterday, the agency released their final version 3.0 requirements for televisions.
In order to qualify for the Energy Star label, all TVs must have a standby mode that draws less than one watt. When operating, the maximum power draw must be under a limit that is based on the set’s resolution and screen size. Standard Definition sets have a lower maximum level than High Definition models. Under the new guidelines, a 42″ HD set must not draw more than 208 watts of power (the equivalent of about two 100-watt incandescent light bulbs). A 60″ HD set has roughly twice the display area of a 42″ set, and so is permitted nearly twice the power consumption.
The new standard applies to all televisions manufactured after November 1, 2008. A second tier of requirements has not yet been finalized, but those levels will take effect on September 1, 2010. One important change in this new specification is that products that qualified for the older Energy Star requirements will not automatically be allowed to continue to use the label. They must requalify for the new, stricter standards in order to continue as an Energy Star product.
No matter what your view of the global warming situation may be, energy conservation is a good idea for a lot of other reasons. So if for no other reason that keeping your HDTV operating costs lower, you may want to consider whether or not your new set has the Energy Star label.