This has been a breakthrough year for green electronics, but audio equipment is lagging behind a bit. As youâ€™ll soon discover in our review below, thereâ€™s only a smattering of products that are Energy Star certified. Fewer still are those products certified to be free of toxic materials, or packaged in green manner. Perhaps audio manufacturers need to take a cue from the computer manufacturers whoâ€™ve made many more inroads into green electronic territory.
This has been a breakthrough year for green electronics, but audio equipment is lagging behind a bit. As youâ€™ll soon discover in our review below, thereâ€™s only a smattering of products that are Energy Star certified. Fewer still are those products certified to be free of toxic materials, or packaged in green manner. Perhaps audio manufacturers need to take a cue from the computer manufacturers whoâ€™ve madeÂ many more inroadsÂ into green electronic territory.
TheÂ Vers 2 iPod DockÂ is the greenest and most efficient piece of audio equipment Iâ€™ve come across. This U.S.-based company is a model for other companies to follow. See more details in thisÂ previous post on the Vers 2.
PURE I-10 IPOD DOCK
This iPod dock is almost as green as the Vers 2. The i-10 is part of anÂ EcoPlusrange of products from the UK-based company Pure. These products are energy efficient when in use and when on standby. Theyâ€™re also made with recycled materials where possible, and are finished with water-based varnish.
The following products are part of the EcoPlus range: Move, ONE, PocketDAB 1500, lan DX-40, lan RV-40, EVOKE-1S, EVOKE-2XT, EVOKE-3, Oasis, TEMPUS-1S, Siesta, Chronos II, Chronos CD, Chronos iDock and DMX-20.
KNOLL GSZ67 AMPLIFIER
TheÂ Knoll GSZ67Â receiver may be the most energy efficient receiver available. This receiver won theÂ Electronic Houseâ€™s 2008 Product of the Year Award. Itâ€™s a multi-room controller that allows you to plug in 7 different audio sources (e.g. an iPod, CD or Satellite Radio and play a different audio source in up to six different places in your home.
Unlike other multi-zone amplifiers, the GSZ67 greatly reduces power consumption (it uses less than 1 watt of power while in standby mode). It was the first product of its kind to be Energy Star rated.
It has circuitry that individually shuts down power to unused channels. This saves electricity and ventilation costs (for heated amplifiers). The Class A/B amp produces 50 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 70 at 4 ohms. The channels that are â€œoffâ€ are truly off, not in â€œstandbyâ€ or â€œmute,â€ and thereâ€™s more reserve power for the stereo channels.
SAMSUNG SWA-4000 WIRELESS AMPLIFIER
TheÂ Samsung SWA-4000 Wireless Rear Stereo AmplifierÂ is an Energy Star amplifier that allows you set up wireless surround-sound audio. This amplifier eliminates the need to run wiring from the back of your receiver to the rear speakers located across the room. Itâ€™s compatible with Samsungâ€™s wireless-ready home theater receivers. Itâ€™s priced at $150.
NUVO ESSENTIA E6G AMPLIFIER / RECEIVER
Similar to the Knoll system, theÂ Nuvo EssentiaÂ EG6 is a multi-room sound system. It earned the Energy Star seal of approval by using less than 1 watt of energy in standby mode. The Essentia EG6â€™s amplifier and up to 12 keypads shut down completely when not in use, while keeping â€œone eye openâ€ to snap back into action when a button is pushed. It was the first product in its category to earn the Energy Star label. Itâ€™s available from Nuvo Technologies
TheÂ Pioneer VSX-1018AH-KÂ is a new 7.1 AV receiver released in June 2008. Itâ€™s one of the few receivers that have been certified by Energy Star. It uses only 0.72 watts in stand-by mode.
It features 130 Watts / channel of power and 3 x HDMI inputs. It can decode high-definition audio formats including Dolby TrueHD and dts HD-MA.
Itâ€™s available fromÂ Amazon.
Home Theater Equipment
ZVOX 415 HOME THEATER SYSTEM
TheÂ ZVOX 415Â is a true single-cabinet surround sound system. The cabinet contains three full-range 3.25-inch speakers, a passive radiator, an amplifier and a â€œPhaseCueâ€ virtual surround sound system along with a 4-inch powered subwoofer, all built into a single cabinet. The ZVOX is also energy efficient â€” it uses an external power supply with over 88 percent efficiency, and itâ€™s Energy Star rated. The suggested retail selling price of the ZVOX 415 is $400.
PANASONIC SC-PT650 HOME THEATER SYSTEM
TheÂ Panasonic SC-PT650Â is an affordable home theater system that is Energy Star compliant. It uses just 0.5 watts when in standby mode. It features a 5-DVD changer, EZ-Sync HDAVI control with HDMI connection, and an included Panasonic universal dock for iPod playback and recharging.
PIONEER ELITE AV RECEIVER SC-07
TheÂ Pioneer Elite AV ReceiverÂ is a high-end receiver that was recently Energy Star rated. This 7.1 Channel receive features 140 watts of power, and it handles internal decoding of DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus, plus support for 12-bit Deep Color and a Faroudja video scaler. Itâ€™s available fromÂ Amazon.
ESCALANTE DESIGN SPEAKERS
Escalante Designs makes these very greenÂ Fremont speakers. The speaker cabinets are made of 100% recycled wood board with a low-VOC glue, no formaldehyde andÂ AFM SafecoatÂ finish (non-toxic paint). The speaker grills are made with recycled paper and covered with organic cotton and recycled polyester fabrics from Patagonia. These are only for audiophiles at $3500-$6500 per pair, but theÂ reviewsÂ for these speakers are quite impressive.
PIONEER S-LX70W SPEAKER
TheÂ Pioneer Kuro S-LX70W subwooferÂ is only the Energy Star rated subwoofer. Its only available in Europe. The Kuro S-LX70W uses 90 watts when in use, and only 1 watt when in standby.