Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

October 14, 2005

How to Rationalize a Widescreen TV

Category: Household,Save Electricity,Sustainability,Technology – Tom Harrison – 11:31 pm

Conservation is not the same as deprivation. I saw a show on TV this summer called “30 Days”, which was created by Morgan Spurlock, the guy in “Supersize Me”. In one episode, two egregious consumers of the earth’s limited resources are put into an experimental eco-commune for 30 days. We watch as these SUV-drivin’, meat-eatin’, blowdryer-usin’ two people are thrust into a place with people living a “zero footprint” life. They eat only what they grow, they recycle their waste, they retrieve vegetable oil from restaurants to power their car. So we see people whose lifestyle is perhaps admirable, but utterly different from most Americans. It was good TV, and presented a lot of facts about how badly we are abusing the earth. But it did not present options that our consumption-addicted country can really act on.

Indeed, radical viewpoints can be counter-productive. I think people are looking for easy answers, but when presented with the magnitude and complexity of the problem we have with energy, the environment and the politics around all of this, they tune out. Instead, I think we need to start acting in small ways that help us see that in many cases, conservation and environmentally better choices are not painful, and indeed can be better.

So, I present the widescreen LCD TV.

Our tube TV was on the fritz; we needed a new TV. I work for, a website that provides advice and reviews on things like Widescreen LCD TV’s, so I felt it was my moral and corporate duty to buy one. They are not as tremendously expensive as they were a couple years ago, and if you’re not looking to create a movie theater in your home, you can get a reasonable TV for less than you might think. There are several choices: plasma, projection, rear-projection and LCD. The LCD is the way to go — they claim that plasma is brighter, but I can’t see it. And of all choices, LCD uses a lot less energy. Plasma and any tube TV’s are power hungry; LCDs use something like 1/5th of the power.

Add to this the following:

  • Total weight is much lower; it’s easier to transport
  • It takes less room in your house
  • Manufacturing costs are lower

and with all of this, I had the perfect rationale for my wife: “honey, it’s the only environmentally responsible thing to do.”

Computer monitors also fall into this category. Flat-screen LCD monitors are also a big win, pretty much on all fronts.

The point is that while this step alone will not save the earth, it’s an incremental change that had a side-effect of being a good choice for energy. The primary effect was that we have a really cool TV that works.

Conservation does not require deprivation. Small steps add up, and as you begin to think of little ways here and there that you can make changes, you can find in little time that you have made some significant total changes. It won’t hurt a bit.

1 Comment

  1. […] wait. I love the iPhone, and thus, must rationalize my purchase, as I have done in the past with my TV, TiVo, and laptop […]

    Pingback by Why the iPhone (actually) Matters | Five Percent: Conserve a Little Energy — December 24, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

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