Is Your TV Green?

Hold on a second! Before you plug in that spiffy new TV, have you considered its carbon footprint? I don't care if you waste your life watching TV, but I do care if it's going to trash my planet. Apparently, the LCD TV Association cares too.

The good news (at least for LCD TV manufacturers) is that people are buying A LOT of LCD TVs. Busy factories globally cranked out 40 million sets in 2006, 70 million in 2007, and are on track to "easily exceed 100 million" this year. One can hardly imagine all the manufacturing refuse, non-recyclable parts, discarded packaging, toxic pieces, transportation energy, disposal costs, and just plain energy consumption involved in 100+ million TVs. So, putting on the Good Corporate Citizen hat, this trade association wants its manufacturer members to clean up their act (you can insert your own cynical remark if you want).

The LCD TV Association, the marketing trade group of the LCD industry, launched a new GreenTV program designed to encourage manufacturers to develop LCD TVs that are more power efficient, and use more recyclable parts. "As homes add LCD TVs to more rooms, and as the average TV screen size continues to increase, power consumption will become an even bigger concern, unless the industry takes steps like the GreenTV logo program to help make TVs more energy efficient," said Bruce Berkoff, association chairman.

The first step in their program is to reduce overly bright sets by encouraging use of ambient light sensors to control brightness, which may reduce power consumption by up to 30%. Participants in the program will be awarded with the right to use the 'GreenTV' logo to help promote the technology.

Sure, suddenly every company is environmentally conscious these days, mainly because it's good business, and because it might also head off legislation that would spank them even more. You could diss the LCD people and say their true motive is to sell more TVs, which only makes environmental problems worse. But I think it's a step in the right direction. Not so long ago, corporate mantra was to screw the environment, and count the cash. At least now a few companies are acknowledging the problem (you can insert your own cynical remark if you want).-Ken C. Pohlmann