Home Entertainment and Your Carbon Footprint

Electronic Entertainment

After a hard day at work, what better way to spend a few hours relaxing in the evening than watching television or listening to our favourite band or orchestra. Home entertainment systems have become very sophisticated and offer fantastic quality of sound and image. Electronic equipment continues to reduce in price, so it is little surprise that more and more equipment is packed into the average home. What is perhaps more surprising is the average UK citizen will generate over 3 tonnes of electronic waste in their lifetime.

Simply because such electronic gadgets and gizmos are available at reasonable cost, doesn’t actually mean that people have to buy them all! By being careful about what you buy, and what you actually need, your carbon footprint can dramatically decrease.

Repair Not Replace

Over 50% of electronic items that are discarded still work. In this throw away age, people seem to be more willing to replace computers, mobile phones or televisions rather than finding out if they can be repaired. Perhaps it is the ‘must have the latest’ culture that we are now live in that influences people to replace their phones every year rather than keeping them for a little longer.

Computing equipment is a classic example of how a little effort can save money, and reduce environmental impact. Many people replace their PCs, not because they are faulty, but because they are running a little slow or because the memory is getting full. For a fraction of the cost of buying a new machine, extra memory can be added and an external hard drive can be purchased, both of which will help improve performance and storage capacity.

How many electronic devices in your home carry the ‘Energy Saving’ logo? This label demonstrates that the equipment has been designed and manufactured to the highest standards in energy saving technology. Next time you are in the television retailer store, take a look around and you will see several, but not all, TVs carry this logo.

Is Bigger Better?

The smaller the item, the less energy it will use. It is worthwhile remembering this when you purchase your next music system. Physical size does not always correlate with sound quality. In fact, think about the smallest of MP3 players. These tiny devices generate amazing sound quality. The average person can’t really distinguish between ultra high quality ‘performance’ sound and a quality that is clear enough to listen comfortably to. Yet, the power difference between ‘performance’ and average sound quality can be considerable.

Extend The Life

Extending the life of home entertainment equipment is quite easy providing you follow some simple rules. There are some devices that need to be kept on standby, because they have clocks, but the majority of electronic devices can be turned off at the mains when not is use. Televisions, radios, computers and games machines will all work harder when connected to the mains, even if they are on standby. By turning off the power when not is use, the life of the equipment can be increased by 30%.

Good housekeeping can work wonders as well. How many times do games machines get stuffed into a cupboard after use, or perhaps they are left lying around. Cables can get damaged quite easily if care is not taken. Applying some simple housekeeping rules will ensure the equipment remains in good working order for much longer.

Acting Sensibly

Of course, the time comes when the equipment just gives up, where repair is not an option. Most electronic equipment can be taken apart and the components used in different ways. So dispose of items sensibly. Retailers will often agree to a small discount if an old item is returned.

You can have a major impact on the environment by your attitude towards home entertainment. Acting sensibly and following some simple rules can make all the difference. You can relax and enjoy your favourite orchestra playing in your home in the knowledge that you are keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum.