My wife already thinks that I waste too much time on video games. Wait until she finds out that I'm wasting energy, too.
A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council maintains that game consoles can significantly add to consumers' electric bills. In fact, across the United States, consoles consume as much juice in a year as the combined total of residential electricity users in San Diego.
The solution? One piece of the puzzle is not to leave your system on when you're done playing. NRDC Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz commented:
If you leave your Xbox 360 or Sony Play Station 3 on all the time, you can cut your electric bill by as much as $100 a year simply by turning it off when you are finished playing. With so many struggling in today’s economy – it’s important to realize there are simple steps gamers can take to lower their energy costs. And if manufacturers make future systems more energy efficient, they’ll be doing the right thing for consumers’ pockets, for our clean energy future, and for the environment.
Among the big three, the PlayStation 3 is the energy hog of the bunch, consuming 150 watts per hour in active mode. The Xbox 360 isn't far behind, at 119. The Nintendo Wii, on the other hand, is the console of choice for the conservation-minded, drawing just 16 watts in active mode.
The NRDC claims that a combination of more efficient console hardware and educating gamers to use power-saving features currently built into the 360 and later PS3 models would save consumers a billion dollars a year and cut down on the type of pollution that leads to global warming.
Other goodies from the must-read report:
- watching a movie on your PS3 consumers 5 times the power of using a stand-alone Blu-Ray player
- average annual energy cost for a launch model (2006) PS3 user is $160
- the 2007 PS3 is more efficient: annual cost is $134
- For launch (2006) Xbox 360 users, it's $143; drops to $103 for 2007 models (GP: less RROD as well!!)
- it costs $10 per year to operate a Wii
- the game industry and game media should encourage console owners to use auto power-down features built into the 360 and PS3
- the next hardware generation should be more efficient and have auto-power down
- an auto-save feature should preserve game progress when the system auto-powers down
- controllers should have a "sleep" button
Grab the full report here.