Green home theaters

Home theaters are now From an aficionado’s standpoint, the home theater on display in Newtown Square’s Whitehorse development may not seem that extraordinary. Granted, it features two rows of reclining plush-leather seats, along with impressive equipment like a 100-inch Stewart film screen, a Sharp front projector, six Speakercraft in-wall speakers and a subwoofer.

But it’s actually special for another reason: It’s the country’s first-ever “green” theater, completely powered by four solar panels mounted on a southern-facing roof of the house.

Drawing from the four-and-a-half usable hours of sunlight each day, the panels generate 700 watts per hour, or about 22,000 watts a week. Designed by HiFi House Group, the room (when used at full capacity) uses about 1,500 watts per hour. That equates to about 19 hours of “off the grid” use each week.

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Solar panels are a cost-effective power source for home theaters.HiFi House worked with Home Theater Specialists of America, a Chester Springs-based association of 61 designers, on this sample installation, proving that you can indulge without leaving a substantial carbon footprint—and an energy bill to match.

“It’s a very unique concept,” says HiFi House COO Jon Robbins. “Once homeowners realize how much energy they’re saving, as well as the federal and state tax credits they receive by installing solar panels, I think these theaters will become very popular.”

Whitehorse developer Paul Finley agrees. “People are increasingly interested in solar power,” says the Nolen Companies vice president. “They’re always looking for ways to save energy.”

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