The Low Down On Green Living
December 11th, 2008
Here’s one thing you may want to NOT add to your green holiday gift list: a video game console. Not only do they lead to hundreds of hours of glazed-over staring, but video game consoles are also pretty significant energy hogs.
The Natural Resources Defense Council and Eco Consulting published this month a very valuable report on the energy use of game consoles and we can use them more effectively to save energy (and thus reduce our contribution to global warming). You can see the full report here.
According to the report, more than 40 percent of all homes in the United States contain at least one video game console. That’s well over 50 million game consoles– not counting the homes that multiple machines! The report finds that these machines consumed an estimated 16 billion kilowatt-hours per year — roughly equal to the annual electricity use of the city of San Diego.
Which consoles are worst and which are best, you ask? Interestingly the Wii seems to be the “power sipper” of the bunch, using only 16 watts in active mode. The Wii uses far less power than the other consoles surveyed. Conversely the Sony PlayStation 3 uses 150 watts in active mode and the Microsoft Xbox 360 uses 119 watts.
Fortunately the study provides guidance on how we can make our gaming more planet-friendly. According to the study, “through the incorporation of more user-friendly power management features, we could save approximately 11 billion kWh of electricity per year, cut our nation’s electricity bill by more than $1 billion per year, and avoid emissions of more than 7 million tons of CO2 each year.” Here is a sample of their recommendations:
+ Console manufacturers and game designers should work together to develop a campaign to encourage users to turn off their game consoles after use and to take advantage of the auto-power-down feature available on some consoles.
+ The next generation of consoles should be shipped with an auto-power-down feature enabled by default.
+ Consoles should also have a manual “sleep button” on the controller.
And I’ll add another recommendation: unplug your gaming console from the wall when you’re not using it, so that the machine is not sucking phantom power.
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