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Video games wasted about 1% of America’s electrical energy

A new study from Carnegie Mellon University found that in 2010, video games wasted about 1% of America’s electrical energy.

They found that up to 75% of energy consumed by video game consoles is during idle use, because the machines don’t have an auto-power-down feature (like every computer does).

The authors of the study say the cost of implementing this feature is marginal and would save more than $1 billion in utility costs.

More details:

- By the end of 2010, over 75 million current generation video game consoles (Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PlayStation 3) had been sold, meaning that many homes have two or more current generation game consoles

- We estimate that the total electricity consumption of video game consoles in the US was around 11 TWh in 2007 and 16 TWh in 2010 (approximately 1 % of US residential electricity consumption), an increase of almost 50 % in 3 years.

- The most effective energy-saving modification is incorporation of a default auto power down feature, which could reduce electricity consumption of game consoles by 75 % (10 TWh reduction of electricity in 2010).

- A simple improvement that could be implemented now via firmware updates to power the console down after 1 hour of inactivity. Though two of the three current generation consoles have this capability, it is not enabled by default, a modification that would be trivial for console manufacturers.

- Saving consumers over $1 billion annually in electricity bills.

 

Scott Lowe at The Verge points out that in May 2011, Microsoft did update Xbox 360′s firmware to enable auto-power-down by default. Now it’s up to the rest of industry to catch-up.

 

Full study available – Electricity consumption and energy savings potential of video game consoles in the United States

 

// Photo – Jami3.org