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ENERGY STAR set-top box soaring into savings

Posted by Chelsea Watt

Last November, we announced that ENERGY STAR® set top boxes (PVRs) had made their way to B.C., thanks to Telus and its Optik TV service. Now more than 470,000 British Columbians have ENERGY STAR PVRs — and that's adding up to some real savings.

The savings come thanks to the Auto Power Down feature that's available: ENERGY STAR boxes go into a mode that uses less power.

How much less power? All those ENERGY STAR boxes using auto power down are saving 4GWh (gigawatt hours) of energy compared to conventional set top boxes — that's enough to power the entire community of Tsawwassen for almost a year and a half.

Saving energy, automatically

One of the reasons conventional PVRs draw so much power is that they're always on, so you can record programs in advance and when you're away from your home, receive updates and update your program guide. That always-on capability costs you in standby energy use.

But most of us aren't recording all day, every day. That's why ENERGY STAR boxes offer the Auto Power Down feature, saving energy when they're not in use. After four hours of inactivity, the box goes into a low power mode to save energy and money.

With Auto Power Down, the box still records scheduled programs, so it's a great way to save energy and still get the best out of your box.

Conventional boxes can run up the costs

About 70% of the energy consumption of a PVR goes to standby energy use. That's about 190 kilowatt hours (kWh) a year — or about $18 a year — based on a non-ENERGY STAR High-Definition PVR set top box.

An average HD PVR set top box consumes about 270 kWh/year. That's about $25 a year to operate just one device in your home. And if you have two or three of them, the cost can be significant. In fact, a home running two conventional set top boxes is using more energy than it would take to run a new refrigerator.

Keep costs down with your TV

It's not just your set top box that can be costing you in standby energy use.

Check out our tips on energy-efficient televisions and other green electronics to help save energy and money.