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Green Home Theater

September 2, 2009 By Adrienne Maxwell

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Jay Greene Photography
Jay Greene Photography

Guilt-Free HT: Solar panels help get your theater off the grid.

All across the consumer electronics industry, manufacturers are looking for ways to make their products more energy-efficient. Power reduction is a great goal, but let’s talk about power generation.

If you could create enough clean energy to power all of your A/V components, then you could spend less time fretting over individual watts and more time enjoying the fruits of your theater’s labor.

Jay Greene Photography

The Home Theater Specialists of America, an association of 61 custom home theater designers, is promoting the benefits of off-the-grid entertainment with the Guiltless Green Home Theater.

Recently installed in a spec home in the Philadelphia area, the theater is powered by four solar panels mounted on the roof.

Jay Greene PhotographyThe panels, supplied by LG Energy Solutions, generate about 700 watts per hour during the 4.5 usable hours of sunlight each day, for a total of about 22,000 watts per week.

The home theater equipment requires about 1,150 watts per hour. That means you could enjoy up to 19 hours of home theater entertainment per week using only the amount of power created by the solar panels.

OK, there is one caveat to the above description. The solar panels don’t actually supply power directly to the home theater system; rather, they augment the home’s main power, using an inverter box that turns the solar panels’ DC current into usable AC current for your home.

So, we’re really talking about offsetting the theater’s power usage by adding solar power to turn the dial back, so to speak. If you decide to enjoy a Lost marathon and go over the estimated 19 hours per week, your gear won’t shut down on you. You’ll still get your HT; it just won’t be quite as guilt-free.

The HTSA has members in cities all across the country. If you like what you see in the Guiltless Green Home Theater, installed by HiFi House in Philadelphia, you can have this exact package installed in your home by any HTSA member company.

Jay Greene Photography“I wanted to develop this theater as a way to address the energy use of the home entertainment systems we are installing,” says HTSA president Richard Glikes.

“This use can be significant, and, in today’s world, sustainability is key. My hope is that, by promoting a green option for home theater through HTSA members, people will realize that they don’t need to sacrifice great audio and video for a system that is environmentally friendly and more moderately priced.”

The theater’s equipment list includes the Sharp XV-Z15000 DLP projector, a 100-inch Stewart Filmscreen, the Integra DTR-5.9 receiver, the Sharp BD-HP50 Blu-ray player and SpeakerCraft’s AIM 8-1 in-walls, MT-1 in-wall and Bass X10 in-wall subwoofer.

You also get a URC MX980 universal remote (with the MRF-350 RF base station), a Lutron Grafik Eye lighting system and Salamander Designs’ Geneva Twin20 equipment cabinet and Alex theater chairs.

The total system, with the solar panels and installation, cost $29,575. (Of course, you can tailor a package with your choice of A/V gear for a different price.)

According to HTSA, the solar panels will pay for themselves over four years of energy savings. After that, you’re in the black…or should we say green.

* For more information on the Guiltless Green Home Theater or to find an HTSA installer in your area, go to htsa.com.





The Benefits of Going Solar

Jay Greene PhotographySolar panels aren’t limited to new constructions; anyone who’s looking to make their home—and home theater—more energy-efficient can benefit from this upgrade.

In addition to the long-term savings in energy costs, solar panels can add more value to your home, and a number of rebates and tax incentives exist—on a state and federal level—for those who incorporate renewable energy sources in their homes.

Through 2016, the federal government will offer a 30 percent rebate on the cost of solar panels. You can find information on your state’s tax incentives in the database of state incentives for renewables and efficiency.

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency

Jay Greene Photography


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