OAK RIDGE, TENN., April 1 — According to Andrei Constantinescu, a senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, it won’t be long before new American homes no longer require central heating. “Every year, the heat produced by electronic gadgets is increasing,” explained Constantinescu. “By 2014, most new American homes won’t need a furnace.”
As televisions get larger, their heat output increases. “Four plasma TVs can heat a house in Kentucky,” said Constantinescu. “If you throw in a set-top box and two or three computers, you should be fine as far north as Maine.”
Americans buy more TVs — and they’re getting bigger
Data from the Energy Information Administration confirm that the average heat output of electronic gadgets has been rising for years. “It’s only a matter of time before furnace manufacturers have to close their doors,” Constantinescu predicted. Carrier Corporation has already announced plans to move its corporate headquarters from Farmington, Conn., to Fairbanks, Alaska, where the demand for residential furnaces may last until 2018.
According to Julie Flack, media coordinator for the American Association of Electronic Gadget Manufacturers (AAEGM), heating a home with plasma TVs makes a lot of sense. “When you go to bed, it’s important to leave all of your TVs on,” Flack advised. “Especially on cold winter nights.”
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been closely monitoring the heating-with-your-television trend. “Beginning in 2016, television labels will be required to include heat output in BTUH,” said DOE spokesperson Christine Keely. “The new labels will be a boon to consumers. If your home has a design heat loss of 30,000 BTUH, and you’re shopping for three new TVs, just be sure that each TV has a minimum heat output of 10,000 BTUH.”
Editor’s note: This news story has been published a day ahead of Holladay’s usual Friday blog posting in order to meet the April 1st press deadline.