Everyone loves going to the movies, but it isn't always feasible, and you don't always feel up for it. Furthermore, getting to the movie theater requires a car. Gone are the days of local one-screen cinemas, replaced by multiplexes as large as malls and usually as much as 20 minutes away. All that driving isn't exactly green or gas-efficient.
It's no wonder that more people are bringing the movie theater into their homes. While you won't have the luxury of seeing films released that week, the advent of streaming technologies pioneered by Netflix, Hulu and HBO means that thousands of film and television options are only a click away. But while you're staying green, what's a good way to keep your new home theater as eco-friendly as possible?
Consider a few of these tips for saving yourself a drive to the overcrowded theater and saving Mother Nature the extra burden of your emissions and electrical use.
1. Get the right HDTV. Not all HDTVs are equal in performance or energy consumption. At the very peak of performance and energy-efficiency are Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) televisions - particularly those with Light Emitting Diode (LED) backlighting. LEDs are catching on in a number of forms - including light bulbs with near physics-defying energy conservation - but they not only reduce the wattage of your television's needs, but improve the picture. Investing in an LCD HDTV with LED backlighting buys you a ticket to a great show that won't overburden the planet.
2. Invest in an efficient air conditioner. All air conditioners are categorized with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). As the government mandates that the lowest SEER a unit can carry is 13, any air conditioner carrying an Energy Star certification means it clears this minimum. Looking for higher SEERs can save you money in the long run and reduce consumption from one of the home's greatest summer offenders.
3. Install radiant heat. Radiant floor heating is an eco-friendly method of keeping your home warm despite the season. If it's a chilly late-summer morning, turn up the heat just a little to keep your feet comfortable. When December and January are at their worst, crank it up higher - there's no guilt, because you're using an energy-efficient form of heating. And it's easy to install under a variety of flooring types.