January 12, 2009

Britain To Ban Inefficient Plasma Televisions

According to British officials, inefficient plasma televisions will soon be banned in an effort to battle climate change.

Energy standards for televisions in Europe will be set in the spring and will lead to a labeling system showing efficient and inefficient devices.

The action follows a withdrawal of the 100W incandescent bulb, as part of an effort to remove inefficient devices in homes.  Plasma screen televisions normally use four times the energy of televisions with cathode ray tubes (CRTs).

During the last 30 years, the number of electric appliances in an average British home has risen from 17 to 47.  The number of televisions has also grown to nearly 60 million, or one for every person in Britain.

The power needed to run these devices has doubled during the same period, and officials of Britain's Energy Savings Trust believes it will increase by another 12 percent during the next four years.

The flatscreen television boom, partly caused by the new digital changeover, has helped bolster the increase.

"In the past five years we have seen the main television in a household change from typically being a 24in to 32in CRT television to being a much larger flatscreen television, with screen sizes of between 32 and 42 inches becoming more and more common. Not surprisingly, this has seen the energy used by the main television in the house increase," said an official for Britain's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

On average, a 42 inch plasma television uses 822 kilowatt hours per year, compared to a 42 inch LCD flatscreen which uses 350 kilowatt hours during the same period.  The largest available CRT television (32 inch) uses only 322 kilowatt hours in a year.

According to the trust, large plasma screen models now account for twice the emissions of a fridge-freezer.

Members of the European Union are now setting minimum standards for televisions.  The devices will soon be labeled with energy ratings, while the worst of the worst will be phased out all together.

The EU has already created standards for energy used in standby mode.  According to Defra, the action should cause a fourfold drop in energy used by next year.

Australia and the United States are taking similar steps to reduce energy used by televisions.

Manufacturers are already stepping up to the challenge by developing plasma televisions that use one-third less energy, and by developing better LED televisions, which are far more efficient.


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