My parents recently moved and are going through throwing out and replacing a lot of their furniture. They have 3 large old fashioned crt televisions that are quite heavy, and I'm considering encouraging them to replace those on the grounds that they are not just heavy and don't fit in the new house, but are also highly energy inefficient. The newest of the tvs is at least a decade old, the oldest likely more than two decades old.

I have two questions in regards to replacing them, closely related.

  1. If I convince my parents to replace them, will the environmental savings in terms of less energy consumed be enough to justify the harm of manufacturing new televisions? It seems even good will won't take crt televisions nowadays, so the old tv will be disposed of entirely if replaced.

  2. Can anyone point me to a good analysis of the financial savings in energy of a new flat screen compared to an old television, since I would have to justify replacing them by convincing my parents that they will save more.

  • I don't have any data to back up my claims right now, so I'm writing this as a comment. 4 things to consider here: 1) Technology, LED or OLED is the most energy efficient, CRT is worst 2) Screen size, smaller tvs consume less power so don't be tempted to increase screen size when you buy new, 3) power usage in stand-by mode, and 4) number of televisions, why 3 tvs for 2 people? Conclusion: try to persuade your parents to buy just one (O)LED tv, as small as possible yet still agreeable to them. This is bound to be much more energy efficient than 3 CRT tvs
    – THelper
    Jul 6 '15 at 19:13

One of the key considerations here is how much time the appliance will spend turned on. If an old CRT TV is hardly used, then the environmental footprint of continuing to use it is very low, even if it uses 5 times as much electricity as an LCD one.

Secondly, the way the electricity is generated makes a substantial difference. If renewable energy is used to run the old TV, then the environmental footprint is much lower.

The energy used to manufacture a TV (or any electronic device) is substantial and also needs to be considered. I would expect energy used for most electronics to have come from non-renewable sources. To alleviate this environmental cost, it could be an option to purchase a second hand TV rather than a new one. A second hand one might be for sale because someone is purchasing a larger model.

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