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Sierra Daily

Jan 28, 2013

Your Carbon Couchprint

Football fans watching televisionWatching the Super Bowl is good for the planet. Energy consulting firm Opower compared the electricity use of 145,000 American households on Super Bowl Sunday 2012 to that of other winter Sundays with similar weather and found that Game Day helps the U.S. reduce energy use by as much as 7.7 percent, depending on region. According to the New York Times, “the precise reasons are hard to identify, but apparently the increased reliance on some appliances - running a big-screen TV, opening and closing the refrigerator - were outweighed by other changes in routine, like not running the clothes dryer or the vacuum cleaner.”

“The total decrease in U.S. home electricity usage during the Super Bowl is greater than three times the energy consumed by all the TVs watching it,” writes Barry Fischer, who edits Opower’s blog. “With so many people glued to the couch during the game, fewer households are using electricity for cooking, cleaning or anything else other than watching the tube." All that communal couch-sharing turns into widespread energy-dollar savings. “Super Bowl XLVI demonstrated that when around one-third of Americans collectively watch a single 3.5-hour sporting event, the corresponding reduction in the nation’s daily energy bill can be upwards of $3.1 million,” Fischer writes.

So grab a bag of Sun Chips and a handful of baby carrots and curl up in front of the flat-screen guiltlessly this Sunday. And with feigned apologies to my Baltimore-based colleague Heather: Go Niners.

Image by iStock/4x6.

HS_ReedMcManusReed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked on the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas ever thus.”

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