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Truth on Standby

Telegraph | News | Don't leave your TV on standby, says Brown

Gordon Brown will go head-to-head with David Cameron on green issues today by urging people to save electricity by not leaving their television sets on standby.

While the Tory leader is in Norway seeing the impact of global warming on glaciers, the Chancellor will be addressing the United Nations on the need for international co-operation to protect the environment. He intends to highlight the "huge waste" from consumer goods left on standby - about 10 per cent of the electricity supply.

So how mush power do TVs actually use on standby?
Thanks to CNET here are some figures:

Model Screen size Power consumption (in watts)
(diagonal) TV Standby Standby%
Envision A27W221 27 inches 104.9 5.1 4.86%
JVC LT-32X776 32 inches 114.2 11.1 9.72%
ViewSonic N3250w 32 inches 152 3.9 2.57%
RCA 27F634T 27 inches 86.7 2.5 2.88%
Sharp 27DV-S100 27 inches 124.9 3.5 2.80%
Sony KD-34XBR960 34 inches 189.1 5.2 2.75%

So the average from a representative sample of TVs is about 4% - CNET have figures for 20 in total but they include some real US monster TVs which aren't that common.
And is that usage a waste? - the energy in is seeping out into the room as heat, thereby cutting the need for heating by other means. The red-light stays on here at The Castle.

UPDATE - sorry in my hurry this morning I misread the quote - it seems to say that 10% of all electricity is wasted on goods left on standby, not that a TV uses 10% of its active state electricity. See more on this claim at http://www.unescap.org/esd/energy/publications/psec/guidebook-part-two-standby-power.htm but the general point still stands, most machines on standby use a tiny amount of electricity which needs to be balanced against the purposes of leaving tham on standby.


My TV.


Power Consumption (On mode) 184W
Power Consumption (Stand-by) less than 1W

The state is telling us porky pies yet again.

"And is that usage a waste? - the energy in is seeping out into the room as heat, thereby cutting the need for heating by other means. The red-light stays on here at The Castle."

Well done - my thoughts exactly. These sort of arguments are a combination of snobbery and puritanism, and nothing to do with 'saving the planet' at all.

Why, oh why is 'Dave' such an appalling fool?

I see that it's Gordon Brown who is the fool. Well, they're both fools.

It's true, of course, that you "use", at least in winter, the heat generated by a TV on standby. It's also true that electric heating is, well, not the most economical, so I wouldn't rush out and replace your gas boiler with a room full of TVs just yet.

The average TV probably gets watched for a couple of hours a day [that may seem like a small number, but you have to account for multiple household TVs], so if a TV uses 4% of its "on" power on standby, you find that about a third of the energy used by your TV is used to drive the IR receiver and the little red light in standby mode.

If you have a really big TV, it might cost you as much as 1p extra per day to leave the red light on. Get up and turn the TV off every day for a year, and you'll have nearly saved enough for a week's TV licence. Not worth getting too excited about, really, is it? You could save a lot more energy and money by not watching crap on TV and going for a walk instead.

Our houshold has 10 TVs, VCRs and DVDs. (I don't know if that is typical for the US or Britain.)

Assuming 20 hrs/day not being used, total standby energy used per month is

4W * 10 * 20 *30 / 1000 =24kWh.

We use about 900kWh/month so that's 2.67% of our electric bill going to standby power. DUH!

I've read somewhere the the figures used which give the 10% figure is based on research using old TVs with vacuum tubes. When they were left on standby a lot of power was needed to keep the tubes warm so that they would start straight off. (turn on an old TV from the cold and it can take a couple of minutes to start up). Modern CRT and TFT units dont need to warm up and only use a tiny trickle of power.

If you show an environMentalist to be wrong they throw a sulk, wait half an hour and then start to repeat themselves.

"the energy in is seeping out into the room as heat, thereby cutting the need for heating by other means."

So in the summer you turn them off? Or just open a window because the house is too hot? Good job we don't all think like that or we'd have to build a whole pile of new power-stations - what, we are having to? Oh...

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