Any type of facility that uses a lot of energy should be concerned about the energy consumption facts of the electronics that they use.  The goal of this article is to help retirement communities increase energy efficient solutions without a major investment.

Rising costs and reduced government support means long term care facilities must explore creative ways to decrease costs without having a negative impact on resident care.  With those costs the facilities must also learn how to conserve energy while still giving residents what they want.  While there are some bills that you cannot control, the amount of energy that a facility uses is definitely something that can and should be looked at by each retirement community.

There are ways to creatively impact energy consumption for minimal investments where LTC facilities can benefit from reduced energy bills, reduced maintenance staff workload, and increase a facilities’ offering to its residents while still finding a variety of ways to save electricity. energy consumption facts

One easy way that any facility can save energy is to upgrade to more energy friendly devices.  One problem with many facilities is that they look to cut costs that have an effect on their resident’s daily life.  Reduction of staff in a nursing home is one way that administrators look to save money.  While this initially may balance the books, many times the overall patient care is compromised without enough staff.  Energy consumption is one thing that cannot only save facility money, but it can profit off of if done correctly.

Cable TV: Rid those Set-Top Boxes

One idea for facilities is to rid set-top cable boxes. Cited by, today’s set-top boxes operate at nearly full-power even when a resident (or us at home) is not watching TV.  As a nation, $2 billion is spent each year to power these boxes even when they are not being actively used.  DVR’s even use 40% more energy than the typical non-DVR set top box.  To take it one step further, an HD-DVR consumes more than half the energy of a new refrigerator, and more than a new flat-panel television.  The troubling part is two-thirds of a boxes’ energy consumption occurs when it is not even being used.

Consider Switching to Satellite TV from a trusted provider

Installing a cable headend system can be a cost-effective way to rid set-top boxes, save energy, and supply the same (if not better) quality TV to your residents.  Any upfront equipment costs will be paid off over time when comparing energy savings as well as reduced maintenance staff time in servicing the cable boxes.

You do the math

Here’s the comparison as analyzed by (standard definition, not high-definition):

Comcast set-top boxes

10W Active, 10W Standby

Verizon set-top boxes

29W Active, 28W Standby

Time Warner set-top boxes

19W Active, 18W Standby

DirecTV set-top boxes

12W Active, 9W Standby

Dish Network set-top boxes

43W Active, 40W Standby

Using an energy cost calculator it is easy to see that a facility with 50 rooms and 2 beds means it is using 4,000 Watts/day (Dish Network, Standby) simply to have a set-top box plugged in.

Our energy cost calculator shows that 4,000 W x 365 = 1,460,000 watts annually consumed by set-top boxes.

In conclusion, depending who a facility’s television service provider is, eliminating the need for set-top boxes in order to receive TV can amount to substantial savings.