an industry study conducted by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Ecos, a consulting firm, most gamers do not turn off their gaming consoles when they are not using them and the consoles continue to burn a fair amount of electricity, even when not in use.
The analysis released its results last week, which claims that gamers could save as much as $100 per year just by turning off their gaming machines when they aren’t using them. The study's total results are also a bit shocking: idle machines consume almost as much electricity as those that are in use and merely turning them off could cut the U.S. electricity bill by more than $1 billion per year.
This would save 11 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, while avoiding seven million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. These figures are based on statistics that almost 40 percent of U.S. residences have video games. The NRDC and Ecos estimate that gamers consume roughly as much electricity in one year as does the City of San Diego, California.
The NRDC wants the gaming industry to do something about this, starting with adding automatic power-down features on gaming machines that are easy for consumers to find. The Xbox 360 has a power-down feature, but its default setting is set to “on” and setting it to power-down is not easy to do, as the ‘how to’ is buried deep within a menu.
Energy consumption also varies by model: The Microsoft Xbox 360 consumes 119 watts in active mode, more than that of many desktop PCs. The Sony PlayStation 3 uses 150 watts in play mode, although it has software that can be updated to activate power management (but the power management is disabled by default). The most conservative energy user is the Nintendo Wii, which uses only 16 watts, less than most laptops.
The NRDC recommends that the next generation of video game machines incorporate power-management features into their design, such as an auto-save game feature, a "sleep" button on the console, and automatic power-down that shuts off the console after several hours of inactivity.
For information on how to find power-down features on gaming machines, click here