power-stripEveryone is talking about going green these days, and it’s no wonder. Not only is saving energy the environmentally conscious thing to do, it can save you money on your electric bill – especially when you have a home theater system with lots of bells and whistles. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, consumer entertainment electronics account for more than 15% of energy usage every month, and if every home theater system in the U.S. that’s purchased this year was energy efficient, more than three billion pounds of greenhouse gas would be prevented.

Keeping a green home theater system is easier than you might think. Here are some quick tips for making your home theater system easy on the environment and easy on your checkbook.

Look for the Star – Energy Star is the international standard for energy efficient consumer products. Started in 1992, the symbol has been adopted for consumer electronics, lighting and more in six countries. Televisions with the Energy Star logo use 30% less energy than televisions without the Energy Star certification, which can add up to nice savings over the course of a few years.

Use Power Strips – Don’t let “vampire power” suck your electricity! Many appliances, especially those used in home theater systems, continue to draw a small amount of power from the outlet even after they are switched off. Use a smart power strip to plug in all your home theater electronic devices, like your televisions, DVD players, speakers and set-top boxes. With one flip of a switch, you’ll be able to completely turn off your home theater system without wasted power.

Recharge Your Batteries – It takes 100 years for a AA battery to decompose in a landfill. Now imagine how many batteries you go through in a year for your remote controls, outdoor speakers or other home theater system peripherals. Using rechargeable batteries will keep extra trash out of the landfill and save you money in the long run.

Run Your Laptop – Laptops use about 170 watts of energy less than desktop computers. If you plan to run a whole house audio or Wi-Fi speaker system from a computer, stick with a laptop. A laptop is a smart green choice, and with the small size for many modern laptops, it will save space in your home theater system setup.