Digital life is a power hog

Energy Saving TrustA report out today by the Energy Saving Trust, predicts that by 2020, flat-screen televisions, computers and other hi-tech gadgets will use nearly half of a typical British home’s total electricity. This is in part due to the growth of single person households, along with the rising popularity of larger LCD televisions, set-top boxes, computers, games consoles and media players — all of which add to much higher energy consumption.

As a result, consumer electronics will soon overtake kitchen appliances and lighting as the biggest single drain on domestic power, the report says.

Not only are there many more devices in the typical home, but many of them are in a permanent state of readiness to swing into action.

None of this should come as too much of a surprise, especially to readers of this blog. A quick scan of my own living room and the problem is all too evident. As much as I embrace the digital lifestyle, I’m becoming more conscious of the frivolous approach to electricity usage that many devices take. For example, why do so many products “glow” when not in use? And a real beef of mine is digital picture frames. While the concept is cool, it’s yet-another LCD screen that we can surely live without.

Part of the problem that consumers face is a lack of up-front information and guidance from manufacturers. What’s the difference in electricity usage between putting your TV on standby or computer to sleep, and switching off completely? How does one company’s product compare to another? One solution might be to legislate so that all devices must carry clear labeling on power consumption.

How might we stop digital life from being such a power hog? Please leave your comments.

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

2 Responses to “Digital life is a power hog”

  1. Kendall says:

    > How might we stop digital life from being such a power hog?

    To the extent that power becomes more costly, people living the digital life will tend to find various means to reduce their consumption.

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