Video conferencing and the bigger picture

The National Trust is now rolling out video conferencing. Llandudno where our office is will be one of the lucky recipients. I was asked a question by a colleague Jo Horsley in South Wales  ‘are we going for a plasma screen based approach’? Specifically for the meeting room video conferencing system esp when there are a lot of LCD and LED out there. I have had a look at the data and on average LED uses less than 50% of the power of Plasma.(Which magazine)  But we are only looking at the diff between 220w average for plasma vs. 90w average for an LED (Which magazine). In simple payback the difference is large. It does get less when you add in 7% annual energy inflation on that. That’s the simple cost payback aspect. If we had a single bottom line and not a triple (social, economic and environmental) in the organisation then go for the cheapest plasma as long as it met our quality needs.  (and as a minimum they should be Power star 4.0 rated – which means that it only uses 1w per hour when on standby.) LED it is then

Just to add further weight – 9 million  flat screen TV’s where bought in the UK last year. If they had all taken a financial stand point and are now all using a 130w more because they went for Plasma this would need the equivalent of 1170MWp power station to power the extra 130w x 9m. If the screens only ran for the 2 hours a day this equates to 854100MWh pa which is over 10 times more total power than the National Trust uses in a year for just for that 130w.  I am afraid for all of us lowering our impact will cost more – it’s the economics of energy which has got us into the mess we are in.

Ps  Below is Ferrybridge power station in West Yorkshire – the UK’s first Carbon Capture trial power station – it takes this size of power station (or a 1000 200ft wind turbines) to power the potential 130w difference x 9million flat screens. If we all went for more efficient ones then you would not need the carbon capture here because you would not need the power (simplistic I know but just to illustrate) – then we get into true cost of energy but that’s another story. PS it will soon be St David’s day and to quote the patron saint – ‘do the small things’

Ferrybridge 1.1MW power station (Image webbaviation)

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