The LCD Effect: More Electronics in Homes but Less Power Consumed, Report Says
Posted at 3:52 p.m. on June 23, 2014
While the number of consumer electronics that people use in homes rose from 2.9 billion in 2010 to 3.8 billion in 2013, electricity consumption by such electronics in homes decreased by 12 percent compared to 2010, says a report commissioned by the industry’s trade group.
In its conclusions, the study for the Consumer Electronics Association points to certain trends in television and computers as contributing factors.
For televisions, the report says that for the first time in more than a decade, there’s been a significant decrease in the number of televisions that are plugged in, with a “shift from CRT to LCD TVs contributing to more than a 20 percent decline in their estimated AEC from 2010 to 2013.” AEC refers to annual electricity consumption.
The report goes on to state that this decline might simply be because people aren’t using their older TVs anymore:
Around 90% of the 40 million TVs sold per year are flat-panel LCD displays (CEA 2013b). Our best understanding of this installed base decrease of about 50 million TVs plugged in within the last month is that a large portion of older, less efficient CRT displays have been removed from service. Since our only indication of this change comes from our phone survey, there remains some uncertainty in its precise magnitude.
Here’s why the report thinks this 50 million decrease might be “reasonable”:
Previous estimates place household TV ownership in slight excess of the U.S. population. It is plausible that many older and lesser-used TVs (primarily CRTs) are being discarded without being replaced.
The report also said there was a 25 percent decline since 2010 in the estimated annual electricity taken up by computers, pointing in part to a migration to “much less energy-intensive tablet computers”:
The plugged-in installed base of both desktop and portable computer decreased from 2010 to 2013 (desktop: 101 to 88 million, portable: 132 to 93 million. We believe this is due to the 25-fold increase in the ownership of tablets, from 4 million (Urban et al. 2011) to 100 million (CEA 2013a). Including tablet computers, the installed base of all computers categories in 2013 was 19 percent higher than in 2010.
Another reason for the decrease in electricity use on the part of computers are “refined methods” for the study’s calculation of computer use.
When looking at what category of devices consumed the most electricity among consumer electronics in homes, the report gave this breakdown:
- Televisions: 30 percent;
- Set-top boxes: 18 percent;
- Computers: 13 percent.
Televisions have consistently taken up the largest portion of consumer electronic energy consumption since the first evaluation for 2006, the report notes.