Here’s a deeper dive into ways to have family fun, and save money, too.
1. Select Energy Star-rated electronics
The three biggest energy hogs in the family room are the plasma television, DVR/TiVo box, and digital cable box, says the nonprofit American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, which promotes energy efficiency to consumers and government policymakers.
A typical plasma TV (less than 40 inches) consumes 441 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That translates into about $50 (based on 11.3 cents per kilowatt hour). Next up are TiVo devices at $41 annually, followed by digital cable boxes at $27. Both devices are always on because they constantly receive and download data. Opting for an LCD (liquid crystal display) TV, which costs $8 per year to operate, saves you about $42/year.
And if you use an Energy Star-rated digital cable box (ask your provider if any are available for free), you could pay 30% less for energy—an annual savings of about $8.50. Energy Star hasn’t yet published data on swapping out a DVR or TiVo device.