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5 Tips for Saving Energy in the Family Room

Published: March 8, 2011
Reduce your electricity bills by systematically purging your family room of wasteful energy practices.

Media Room
Family room fun—a video game console, TV, DVR, DVD, and stereo system—comes at a cost reflected monthly in your energy bill. But you could save up to $130 a year in energy costs by recharging, reducing, and replacing energy-sapping electronics.

Here´s a deeper dive into ways to have family fun, and save money, too.

1. Select Energy Star-rated electronics
The three biggest energy hogs in the family room are the plasma television, DVR/TiVo box, and digital cable box, says the nonprofit American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, which promotes energy efficiency to consumers and government policymakers.

A typical plasma TV (less than 40 inches) consumes 441 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That translates into about $50 (based on 11.3 cents per kilowatt hour). Next up are TiVo devices at $41 annually, followed by digital cable boxes at $27. Both devices are always on because they constantly receive and download data. Opting for an LCD (liquid crystal display) TV, which costs $8 per year to operate, saves you about $42/year.

And if you use an Energy Star-rated digital cable box (ask your provider if any are available for free), you could pay 30% less for energy—an annual savings of about $8.50. Energy Star hasn´t yet published data on swapping out a DVR or TiVo device.

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