Cable saves you energy

| July 13, 2019 | |

As Texas’ summer heat starts to climb, so do energy bills as Texans take refuge in the air conditioning. But if your beat-the-heat plan also includes watching more television instead of spending time outdoors, know that cable won’t contribute to your rising energy bill.

The cable industry is a leader in implementing green programs that save their customers energy and money. In fact, one of cable’s energy efficiency initiatives recently was recognized by Environmental Leader, a daily trade publication covering energy, environmental and sustainability news.


The cable industry operates under two energy efficiency agreements.

One covers set-top boxes used by more than 90 percent of the U.S. pay TV market, including those used by cable. An audit in August 2018found that this agreementhad saved consumers $3.5 billion since 2012 and avoided more than 20 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, national set-top box energy consumption had dropped by 34 percent, nearly enough to eliminate the annual generation produced by four typical 500-megawatt coal-run power plants.

The second agreement, established in June 2015, covers internet modems, routers and other equipment that delivers broadband service to more than 85 percent of the residential broadband market. By 2018, the agreement had already improved the efficiency of home internet devices by 20 percent.

This second agreement concerning network equipment and its impact on energy efficiency recently earned the Consumer Technology Association one of the Environmental Leader’s 2019 Project of the Yearawards.The same award was presented to the Consumer Technology Association and the NCTA – The Internet & Television Associationin 2016for the agreement on set-top boxes.

As these agreements have expired and been extended, the cable industry has taken the opportunity to commit to even more rigorous energy efficiency goals.

How do cable companies that serve Texans perform when it comes to energy efficiency? A website devoted to the two voluntary agreementshas compiled performance data for Altice USA (Suddenlink services), Charter Communications (Spectrum) and Comcast (Xfinity), as well as cable operators that serve other parts of the country and satellite and telecom companies.

The website includes two types of data:

  • STB: The energy efficiency of digital receivers that have been purchased by an individual company since January 1, 2014.
  • SNE: The energy efficiency of Small Network Equipment (SNE) models, such as internet modems and routers, that have been purchased by an individual company since January 1, 2015 for use with its residential broadband internet access service.

In addition, Comcast, under the leadership of the company’s first-ever sustainability officer, has adopted a company-wide visionto create a culture of sustainable innovation that inspires environmental responsibility. This strategy focuses on four areas: energy and emissions, materials and waste, products and experiences, and engagement and outreach.

The goal: zero emissions, zero waste and 100% renewable energy. Comcast NBCUniversal also has committed to contributing 500,000 green volunteer hours by 2020. Learn more on the section of Comcast’s website devoted to sustainability.

In the bigger picture, the number of consumer tech products in our homes is increasing, but their share of our total energy use is steadily shrinking. U.S. households’ tech devices consume 25 percent less energythan they did in 2010, according to the Consumer Technology Association.

Televisions are among consumer technology’s major energy efficiency success stories. Since at least 2006, TVs have accounted for the majority of consumer technology’s overall energy use in U.S. homes. However, innovations in designs and displays have decreased TVs’ annual in-home energy consumption dramatically, declining 30 percent from 2013 to 2017.The average cost to power a TV in the U.S. is now less than five cents a day.

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