I’m concerned that the proliferation of more and more electronic displays worldwide is increasing energy consumption. With a lot of focus today on the effects of global warming and ways to reduce emission and energy consumption, maybe we in the display industry should take a harder look at trends in energy use to see if we can do our part to lower the global temperature.
Senior Analyst and Editor
for Insight Media
In the home, the average TV screen size is clearly getting bigger. We are transitioning from CRTs to LCDs, PDPs and projection technology. But as we replace our 32" CRT with larger TVs, the energy use is increasing. Take a look at the energy use of some popular TVs being sold today.
- 32" Sony KD-32FS170 Trinitron WEGA Flat CRT - 185W
- 42" Sharp LC-42D72U 16:9 AQUOS HD 1080p LCD-TV - 247W
- 50" Panasonic TH-50PX60U PDP-TV - 515W
- 61" Samsung HL-S6187W 1080P DLP HDTV - 230W
See what I mean? Energy use will increase as we make the transition.
How about all those PCs in people’s houses? 17" LCDs monitors are normal
today, but there is a clear trend toward 19" and even 22" and 24"
monitors. A 17" Acer monitor uses 40W but a 22" Acer monitor uses
55W. Not a huge difference, but multiply that by millions of monitors and maybe it can move a decimal point in energy consumption.
There is good news on notebooks as the start toward LED backlights is underway. This can save up to 40% on the power consumption vs. CCFL backlights. When you and your laptop are at 30,000 feet and on your way to Tokyo, energy from the battery seems to be an immediate problem and a 40% savings is important. But a 40% energy savings is important to everyone everywhere, even though it may seem less immediate most of the time.
All of these same trends are apparent in the corporate, professional, industrial, medical and many other fields. The display is only part of the power usage, but screen sizes are getting bigger and power consumption is trending upwards.
And let’s not forget about digital signage. This is clearly expanding rapidly with both indoor and outdoor electronics signage. Most indoor signage will replace CRTs or paper displays while outdoor is replacing static billboards with LED signage. This will certainly increase power use.
I have not even considered lighting, where big chances are afoot. Philips has just announced it will phase out production of incandescent lamp in favor of compact fluorescent and LEDs. The impact of eliminating candescent lighting will be huge. I saw one statistic that tried to evaluate the effect of switching all lighting from incandescent to LEDs. I forget the exact statistic, but it was something like avoiding the building of "56 power plants." In the current regulatory and political climate, it is not likely these power plants
can be built, so we need to find ways to reduce energy consumption.
Unfortunately, I am not aware of any data that tries to measure the impact of display technology trends on energy use. Wouldn’t the federal government agencies and state agencies be interested in understanding the impact of display technology on power grids?
It seems to me that we in the display industry have a great opportunity in front of us. Why not focus development efforts to reduce the power consumption of all display technologies as a major goal. This can provide the next wave of innovations and fuel new growth as companies can promote the lowered energy of their display products. Socially, we can all feel better too as we do our part to help reduce energy use and maybe reduce global warming.
I know I have simplified a very complex issue, but I think the needs and the trends are clear. I believe this can be a great opportunity for the display industry, but if any of you have opinions on this, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org