One of the themes at SID this year was energy savings. Anyone who has to buy gasoline or pay an electric energy bill knows that the cost of energy is rising quickly. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), nearly four terawatt-hours of electricity were used by TVs in the US in 2005. And with more, and bigger TVs now, the use is going up. Therefore, ways to reduce power consumption in the many displays in our homes and offices will be welcome.
Senior Analyst and Editor
for Insight Media
One initiative to help reduce energy consumption is a new ENERGYSTAR program being developed by The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It will be introduced by the end of the year to promote energy conservation.
The LCD TV Association, a non-profit marketing trade association, released its GreenTV logo program at SID. It recognizes products that lower the power consumption of LCD TVs and contribute toward going green.
The association is helping LCD TV manufacturers and brands promote ambient light sensors. These save energy by automatically lowering the overall brightness of the TV, based on the room’s dark background. This reduces the power consumption by 30 percent.
Another energy rating systems is the EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool). Here, manufacturers declare their products’ conformance to a comprehensive set of environmental criteria in eight environmental performance categories. Products are ranked in EPEAT according to three tiers of environmental performance: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
All registered products must meet 23 required criteria to achieve Bronze status. A product can then achieve a higher-level EPEAT rating by meeting additional optional criteria. To earn EPEAT Gold status, an electronic product must meet all required environmental criteria, such as being ENERGY STAR compliant and containing a minimum of 65 percent reusable or recyclable materials, and meet at least 75 percent of the optional criteria.
NEC Display Solutions of America recently announced it now has two desktop LCD monitors (MultiSync LCD175VXM+BK and MultiSync LCD195VX+BK) that meet the EPEAT Gold level standards. This is the first EPEAT Gold rating for NEC Display Solutions.
At the Samsung booth at SID, the company showed two 52" LCD TVs. One was a standard LCD with a CCFL backlight and no dynamic dimming. The other featured an LED backlight with local dynamic dimming - an advance feature over current implementations in that each red, green and blue LED is modulated individually instead of together. The result was significantly lower energy consumption. The results depended on the average picture level of the content, but at one point, the two power meters showed 211W vs. 144W).
AUO showcased its energy-saving technology that featured an optimized cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlight unit design. AUO claims its latest 46-inch LCD TV panels are able to reduce power consumption by up to 50% and yet retain a brightness of 500 nits. AUO’s "Green Solutions" initiative is a company-wide mission to practice green innovations, green procurement, green production, green logistics, green service, and green recycling that will be used in an environmentally friendly manner.
3M demonstrated the energy saving advantages of new films for notebook PCs by attaching them to watt meters. Also on display was a 32-inch LCD TV optimized with Vikuiti films running on 60 watts, a 50 percent energy savings over similar sized TVs, and a 40-inch LCD TV running on 90 watts, a 50 percent reduction over the standard version.
3M optimized the TVs’ energy performance by using multiple Vikuiti films, including a reflector, prism film and a reflective polarizer. The increase in brightness and uniformity these films provide permit the removal of bulbs, reducing the wattage required, while maintaining optical performance.
3M also suggested monitor makers consider adding a DBEF film to the backlight (a reflective polarizer, so it recycles light that would otherwise be wasted in the backlight), as this can provide a 30 percent increase in efficiency. While a self-serving message, their energy point is well taken.
And here’s a novel idea described in some recent patent applications from Apple. How about placing a solar cell in back of the LCD screen so light passing through the display can create electricity?
Keep these innovative ideas coming!