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Living lightly made tricky with LCD TV

Trying to live lightly solely off solar power is made much more difficult with an LCD television.

June 19, 2012 3:07pm

We try to live lightly in our place.

We are not connected to the power grid and manage on the solar system with the generator for back-up when wintry skies reduce our energy from our friend the sun.

It is very interesting being able to monitor what appliances drag the most energy from our system.

We don’t have a fancy gadget to tell us what is going on. We just have the percentage read out on the inverter that tells us what the energy levels are in the batteries.

But our information might help you to save energy.

We used to have a tiny telly – about a 30cm-wide screen.

We rescued it out of our caravan when it and the four-wheel drive flipped and wrote themselves off.

That little telly was great. Worked a treat in spite of its mishap.

But, hubby does like to watch DVDs. He’s a movie buff. We have - no, he has - about 500 DVDs. 

One miserable winter’s day I came home from work and there were big cardboard boxes beside the recycling bin in the shed. (There’s another living lightly hint – recycling wet cardboard through a log maker to keep the home fires burning. These boxes will make a lot of logs.)

Inside, I found a thumping great TV.

I sensed a battle, but apparently it will make our rainy days more enjoyable watching movies together and sipping hot chocolate.

He said he bought the energy efficient LCD. It is next to my piano that has retained its embodied energy for almost 100 years and provided lots of entertainment using only human energy.

Another living lightly hint: entertainment of yesteryear – non-electric music.

The TV got set up and hubby began to watch. I checked the power levels in the batteries.

The weather has been lousy, but the generator kicked the power up to 93 per cent. I stoked the fire and made the hot chocolate.

Two movies later I checked the batteries - 79 per cent. This was bad. Charge shouldn’t really go below 85 per cent. It isn’t good for the batteries.

Oops. It usually takes two or three days worth of energy without recharge to drop to this level. 

We operate a fridge, lighting, vacuum cleaner, computers, hubby’s electric toothbrush and a few other appliances.

Never before has the power dropped liked this. It clearly demonstrates the big draw on energy these latest TVs have.

You can tell by the amount of heat that comes off them.

We must turn it off at the wall every single time to save energy. The battle is on. 

I agree to using it very sparingly, but I get to watch the footy. That is my concession to having this thumping great TV. 

It is fantastic to watch the footy. Another compromise - but I am working on an exercise bike that will generate the power to watch the TV. I’ll keep you posted on that one. 

Healthier me, healthier planet.

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