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To calculate the greenhouse gas emissions from watching TV, we have included the emissions from the consumption of electricity and production of the TV. The following data have been used:
- Average TV use in German households: 4 hours per day
- Average power when the TV is on: 100 W
- Emissions from the average electricity mix in Germany: 98 g CO2e per MJ (source: Ember’s Yearly Electricity Data, refers to the year 2021)
- Carbon footprint of a newly manufactured TV: 180 kg CO2e (own estimate based on a weight of 18 kg, and an average emission factor of 10 kg CO2e per kg for electronics).
- Lifetime of the TV: 7.5 years
The amount of energy consumed in a year is calculated by first converting from watts (W) to joules (J) per second (1 W = 1 J per second). The average power (that is, the energy used per unit of time) is then multiplied by the total time in seconds, according to the physical relationship energy = power × time. Four hours per day for one year corresponds to 5 256 000 seconds.
5 256 000 seconds per year × 100 J per second = 525 600 000 J per year ≈ 526 MJ per year
The calculation shows that 526 MJ of electricity is consumed if the TV is turned on for four hours per day for one year.
The greenhouse gas emissions are calculated by multiplying the electricity consumption by the emission factor for electricity.
526 MJ per year × 98 g CO2e per MJ ≈ 52 kg CO2e per year
The calculation shows that the emissions amount to 52 kg CO2e per year.
The emissions from the production of the TV are calculated by distributing the carbon footprint of a newly manufactured TV evenly over all the years the TV is used.
180 kg CO2e/7.5 years ≈ 24 kg CO2e per year
The calculation shows that the emissions from production amount to 24 kg CO2e per year.
The total emissions are calculated by adding the emissions from the consumption of electricity to the emissions from the production of the TV.
52 kg CO2e per year + 24 kg CO2e per year = 76 kg CO2e per year
The calculation shows that the total emissions amount to 76 kg CO2e per year, which has been rounded to 75 kg CO2e on the card.
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