How many hours a day do you spend watching TV? Two, three, four? More? Well don't feel guilty about it -- we're Americans, darn it, and TV is our friend -- but here are a couple of ways you can enjoy your TV while reducing your energy consumption at the same time.
1. Invite some friends over! Why watch TV by yourself when other people who would be watching the same programs in their own houses could come over and share your electricity. With only one TV on, you use less energy while having a party and building friendships. Pop some popcorn and make an evening of it.
2. Check the brightness. Your TV has several brightness settings. The brighter you set it, the more energy it will use. You might be able to tap down that brightness and save a few watts. Worth a look. (This is also a good time to examine the lighting in your TV room. If you move a light, or turn one off, does the TV look better?)
3. Check the volume. Ditto on the speakers. The higher the volume, the higher the electricity usage. And do you really need that mega surround sound system? Every extra speaker you have plugged in uses energy you might not really need -- not unless you're watching Iron Man 2 on DVD (in which case it might be worth it).
4. Speaking of DVD, turn off or unplug your peripherals when you're not using them. DVD players and game systems are notorious energy hogs, often sucking power out of the wall when you think they're "off" (but are really in some sort of standby mode).
5. Turn the TV off when you leave the room. If you're the only one watching (what, didn't you read point number one?), and you get up to go to the bathroom or get a beer or make a sandwich, hit that off switch as you leave the room. You won't miss anything. Just turn it back on again when you come back.
6. Turn off the TV and read a book! Okay, maybe that's not really helpful. I just like books.
See how many of these tips you can put to good use!