Black Could Be the New Green for NFL
The NFL is serious about making this year's big Super Bowl event the greenest in its history with renewable energy, tree planting and comprehensive reuse and recycling already in place at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, but the game could be even greener if teams were willing to switch to all-black uniforms.
What's the connection between uniform color and being green? TVs. LED high-definition TVs, to be precise.
LED TVs feature active dimming technology, where the TV's backlights respond to the picture on the screen. Darker scenes mean less energy consumed.
"The more dark colors you see in play or in the background, the lower the TV’s power consumption," Scott Birnbaum, vice president LCD Business at Samsung, told TechNewsDaily. "Active dimming reduces power 15 to 25 percent, and up to 90 percent depending on content."
With technological advances in panel manufacturing, even big screen TVs today can be energy efficient, and LED (short for light-emitting diode) TVs are among the least power hungry of the bunch.
LED TVs use LED backlights in their LCD displays rather than CCFLs (Cold cathode fluorescent lamps) found in other LCD TVs. To avoid confusion, the industry usually refers to these energy efficient TVs simply as LED.
American consumers snatched up LED TVs by the millions in 2009. "We estimate that shipments of LED backlit LCD TVs were 2.6 million in 2009 and will be 27 million in 2010," said Paul Semenza, senior vice president at industry research firm DisplaySearch.
So just how much energy could be saved if the New Orleans Saints wore black this Sunday?
A 55-inch LED TV uses about 72 milliwatts of electricity every hour. Assuming about a third of the screen is filled with the darker uniforms, energy usage could be reduced by 25 percent during 60 minutes of game time. If every LED TV was tuned to the game, the energy savings would be enough to power 50 average households for one hour.
Alas, if football teams ever do don uniformly dark uniforms – it could admittedly get kind of confusing – it won't happen this year. The New Orleans Saints were the first team in the NFL to wear all black uniforms, but they won't be wearing them this Sunday. The Saints will wear black jerseys with gold pants when they meet the Indianapolis Colts in their blue-and-white jerseys this Sunday.
Non-football fans and people who don't own LED TVs can help save power by tweaking their Web browsing behaviors. An online energy-saving experiment at Blackle.com is a popular energy-saving alternative to Google.com.
Blackle displays an entirely black screen to save energy on LCD computer monitors with each Google search. Established with the idea that even small steps are important when it comes to saving energy, Blackle.com reports saving 1.7 million watt hours since its launch in Jan. 2007.