ENERGY STAR: Qualified Home Electronic Products Are a Smart Choice This Holiday Season

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Julie Semancik / Tim Wirtz
Hoffman York
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-Focus on Energy encourages Wisconsinites to purchase energy efficient home electronics products-

MADISON, Wis. (November 16, 2004) – More than 75 percent of U.S. consumers will buy at least one electronic product as a gift during the upcoming holiday shopping season, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. If your wish list – or shopping list – includes a TV, VCR, DVD, stereo, computer or telephone, Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, suggests selecting one with the ENERGY STAR label, so you or the recipient can enjoy money and energy savings throughout the year. With home heating costs expected to rise to record levels, it is especially important for Wisconsinites to consider purchasing products that have earned the ENERGY STAR this holiday season.

It may be hard to believe but 75 percent of the electricity used by home electronic equipment is when the products are turned off. That’s because they’re really not “off” – they’re on standby mode, using electricity to power features like clocks, remote controls and channel/station memory. ENERGY STAR qualified products have all the same features as standard models but save energy through superior energy efficiency.

“Americans spend $1 billion each year to power their TVs and VCRs when they are off,” said Sara Van de Grift, ENERGY STAR products program manager for Focus on Energy. “ENERGY STAR qualified consumer electronic products in the off position use up to 50 percent less energy than conventional equipment.”

Several of the hottest new products come equipped with the latest energy-saving components. HD-ready and LCD TVs, DVD players, surround-sound home theater systems and various cordless phones all offer the same stylish designs and technology as conventional products.

The average home has roughly two televisions, one VCR, a DVD player and three telephones — this equals the annual output of 12 power plants. “It’s estimated that by 2015, home electronics and small appliances will be responsible for more than 40 percent of all household electricity used in American homes,” added Van de Grift. “If people make it a priority to purchase products with the ENERGY STAR, they would help save energy and protect the environment, all while saving themselves money.”

Decking The Halls Energy Efficiently
Another way Wisconsinites can save money and energy this season is by purchasing energy efficient holiday lights. Standard incandescent lights or mini-lights have become staples for many residents, either on the trees in their homes or adorning the walkways, doors and porches. However, they use a significant amount of energy and often involve costly bulb replacement. Focus on Energy recommends two alternatives to traditional holiday lights. Light emitting diode (LED) and fiber optic holiday lights significantly reduce energy use, are safer and are more convenient if replacement is necessary.

Gifts That Give All Year Round
Focus on Energy wants to be sure Wisconsin residents understand the benefits of owning ENERGY STAR qualified home electronics products. These products make the perfect gift – they give back year round and they are easy to find because all major manufacturers produce ENERGY STAR qualified products. Retailers statewide carry the products on their shelves, and they are typically located by the non-qualified electronics.

This holiday season and all year round look for the ENERGY STAR on all products and give a gift that gives back anytime of year.

For more information about home electronics products and energy saving opportunities, call Focus on Energy at 800-762-7077 or visit focusonenergy.com.

About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is a public-private partnership offering energy information and services to energy utility customers throughout Wisconsin. The goals of this program are to encourage energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, enhance the environment and ensure the future
supply of energy for Wisconsin. Since July 2001, the program has helped Wisconsin’s
businesses and residents reduce their annual energy consumption by more than 515 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and more than 25 million therms of natural gas.

About ENERGY STAR
ENERGY STAR was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce air pollution through increased energy efficiency. Today, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy, the ENERGY STAR program offers businesses and consumers energy efficient solutions to save energy and money, and help protect the environment for future generations. More than 8,000 organizations have become ENERGY STAR partners and are committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses.