David Susilo: (Photographer, ISF, Control4, CEDIA,
THX Certified Professional and HAA Member)
Energy Star is a government-backed labelling program that helps people and organizations save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by identifying factories, office equipment, home appliances and electronics that have superior energy efficiency. In recent years, Energy Star ratings have been extended to include new homes, commercial and industrial facilities. Energy Star originated in 1992 as a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPAM) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). In 2007, the European Union adapted Energy Star, including related standards, for all of its members. Australia and New Zealand have already adopted the program. As a result, the Energy Star symbol has become the international symbol for energy efficiency.
Energy Star is a voluntary labelling system, though most manufacturers find it commercially desirable to display the logo if their products qualify. The standards themselves, however, are set by governmental agencies. Energy Star labels, for instance, are only awarded to homes that have been independently verified to be at least 15% more efficient than the standard mandated by the relevant state or local energy codes in a given area.
Computers were one of the first devices to be rated by Energy Star. In general, computer energy consumption can be reduced in two ways: by using components that require less power or by using power management software to modulate the energy consumption of these components. Energy Star ratings are now available to include home theatre equipments such as TVs, projectors, blu-ray players and everything else in between.
We, as audio video enthusiasts of course, question whether Energy Star rating affects the quality of the audio video enjoyment from our equipment. The answer is a resounding “no”. Energy Star does not affect the quality at all. If anything, it improves the quality and in most cases even prolong the lifespan of our equipments.
Take TVs, for example. If you don’t calibrate your TV and use it under the brightest mode, then yes Energy Star will impact the brightness of your TV. However, each and every one of us had to remember that TVs are not supposed to be viewed at maximum brightness (usually out of the box at 200 Foot Lambert or more). Under the proper viewing standard as per Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, you should not be watching the TV at the brightness level of 45 Foot Lambert anyway. So forget about Dynamic, Normal, Sports, Game modes. The only mode you should be using is Movie or Custom anyway. By using these modes (or better yet, calibrated screen), your TV will run cooler, which means the components will last longer, which in the end make your TV lifespan much longer, sometimes between 100% to 200% longer.
Energy Star ratings have become an important component of buying decisions for both consumers and businesses. More efficient buildings, appliances and hardware mean significant savings over time on power costs and the replacement cost of the equipments too. The simplest example is that if you use a CCFL bulb instead of the regular incandescent bulb, you can easily save about 80% in electrical bill, about 90% in bulb replacement bill and more than 50% in cooling bill (calculations based on the heat emanated from the bulb itself).