Photo via drdemento
Video game consoles suck a lot of energy, and it turns out that turning them off can save big bucks, according to a report by National Resources Defense Council and consulting firm Ecos.
It also turns out that console makers could go a long way in making the devices more energy efficient in the first place.
The authors said the industry should adopt automatic power-down features and make it easier for consumers to locate these features. Idle machines consume nearly as much energy as when machines are turned on. The XBox 360, for example, has a power-down feature, but it's turned off by default and is hard to activate because its buried deep in the menus.
According to the report, the Xbox 360 consumes about 119 watts in active mode, equivalent to running a PC. On the other hand, the Nintendo Wii uses just 16 watts. Get a load of these jaw-dropping numbers:
Energy-efficiency efforts in the computing industry, such as Climate Savers consortium, resulted in more standardized parts and measurements in things like as power supplies.
The study's authors estimate that taking similar steps in the gaming industry would cut the U.S. electricity bill by more than $1 billion per year as well as avoid 11 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and avoid seven million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Because about 40 percent of U.S. homes have video games, the numbers on energy usage add up. The NRDC and Eco estimated that gamers consume roughly as much electricity in a year as the city of San Diego.
The organizations behind the report call for gamers to turn off their consoles when not playing, and for manufacturers to get with the program on energy efficiency. Both demands are pretty legit. Gaming consoles getting some needed attention from Energy Star could help push things a little more quickly towards efficiency.