Offline Consoles Devour $1.24 Billion of Electricity Annually

MajorDomo

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Unplug that gaming console! That’s the message a new study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University is getting out after discovering the amount of electricity that was being consumed by gaming consoles in power down mode. Consoles that have been powered off were still able to suck down 10.8 terawatt hours while in standby over a year’s time.

As a result, idle American gaming consoles used 10.8 terawatt hours of energy in 2010, which translates to a total energy cost of more than $1.24 billion dollars.
 

dandirk

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holy frick'en cow... 1.24 billion dollars wasted on leaving console alone.

I have heard insane numbers regarding "vampire" electric drains (aka things plugged in but not turned on), guess this is just more data on top.

I even heard that you should unplug your phone charger (when not in use) due to drain.
 

sixpac

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All devices that are on standby suck power. PVR's are very bad for this as well.

I hook everything up to two different power bars and flick the switch off when I am not using them.
 

pelo

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I've noticed this with my satellite receiver too. Powered up or down, the thing runs super hot. I've resorted to flipping the switch on my extension cord.
 

sfsuphysics

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I've noticed this with my satellite receiver too. Powered up or down, the thing runs super hot. I've resorted to flipping the switch on my extension cord.

Yeah I'd do this too if damn thing didn't take fricking 10 minutes to boot up "Just a few more seconds...."
 

pelo

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Yeah I'd do this too if damn thing didn't take fricking 10 minutes to boot up "Just a few more seconds...."

I felt the same way until I walked into my bedroom last week and there was a very clear odor of burning plastic coming from the damn thing. Now I don't care how fucking long it takes to power up, I'd rather not have it burn my damn house down.
 

GruntUltra

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Why can't the console manufacturers just make a converter that DOESN'T USE ELECTRICITY WHEN IT'S OFF???
My pc doesn't use any power while it's off - surely we have the technology to fix wall-warts and save those trillions, right?
 

Rogue4mula

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Why can't the console manufacturers just make a converter that DOESN'T USE ELECTRICITY WHEN IT'S OFF???
My pc doesn't use any power while it's off - surely we have the technology to fix wall-warts and save those trillions, right?

It's because it has to be in standby mode (using power) in order for the controller to be able to turn it on (and other features like that).
 

Freddo

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Why can't the console manufacturers just make a converter that DOESN'T USE ELECTRICITY WHEN IT'S OFF???
My pc doesn't use any power while it's off - surely we have the technology to fix wall-warts and save those trillions, right?
That's not really the issue here, newer consoles have very low standbys (especially the slim PS3), the issue is that people leave their consoles on and letting it idle instead of turning it off.
 

captainfish

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the issue is that people leave their consoles on and letting it idle instead of turning it off.

Exactly!. I don't buy this story with units in shutdown mode. These are just like the stories that come out once a year telling you how bad your fridge is, how bad it is to idle your car, how evil any appliance or gas-user is.

blah-blah-blah-blah
 

Volume

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That's not really the issue here, newer consoles have very low standbys (especially the slim PS3), the issue is that people leave their consoles on and letting it idle instead of turning it off.

Exactly!. I don't buy this story with units in shutdown mode. These are just like the stories that come out once a year telling you how bad your fridge is, how bad it is to idle your car, how evil any appliance or gas-user is.

blah-blah-blah-blah

Thank you for confirming that with that irrefutable fact. Tell me more about how I'm being lied to.
 

Concillian

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Why can't the console manufacturers just make a converter that DOESN'T USE ELECTRICITY WHEN IT'S OFF???
My pc doesn't use any power while it's off - surely we have the technology to fix wall-warts and save those trillions, right?

The PDF / study notes that all the consoles have a "standby" mode which consumes next to no power (~1-3 watts).

The study assumes that 30% of the people simply leave their consoles idle rather than turning them off (standby).

30% seems like a pretty high percentage of people who don't turn off their consoles. And leave them sitting there ON AND IDLE all day.
 

siliconnerd

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Thank you for confirming that with that irrefutable fact. Tell me more about how I'm being lied to.
If you read the actual paper you would see that the study is looking at power wasted by leaving the consoles idle (not in stadby): http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/kmullins/VG_energy_savings_potential.pdf They are assuming 30% of consoles are left to idle 24/7 instead of being shut off. The number from the paper is 16Tw-h used yearly by consoles (not the 10.8Tw-h from the article). The 10.8Tw-h number is actually the savings that would result if it was mandated that consoles power down after one hour.
 

Concillian

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Here's the relevant part of the study:

Unfortunately, neither Nielsen nor any other available
source measures how often console users leave
their system in idle mode when they are not actively
used. As this information is necessary to calculate total
energy consumption, we assume that 30 % of users
leave their console idle when not in use, with the
remainder putting their console into standby mode.
Given the importance of this assumption, we perform
a thorough sensitivity analysis, discussed at length in
“Results: estimated console energy consumption”.
The PS3 and Xbox 360 have both added an “auto
power down” capability through firmware updates,
but this feature is not enabled by default and is difficult
to find in system menus. We believe that this
feature is not frequently utilized by consumers, and
we neglect its effects on overall power consumption.

The accuracy of that 30% assumption is highly debatable, and they pretty much come out and say it's a complete wild-ass guess.
 

IRSmurf

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The PDF / study notes that all the consoles have a "standby" mode which consumes next to no power (~1-3 watts).

The study assumes that 30% of the people simply leave their consoles idle rather than turning them off (standby).

30% seems like a pretty high percentage of people who don't turn off their consoles. And leave them sitting there ON AND IDLE all day.

My former roommate, both my current roommates, and my closest friend all leave their consoles on at idle.

I don't. It drives me crazy. I'm a shut the light off on the way out kinda of guy.
 

Staples

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When they are off, they suck 2-5w. This report is talking about people who leave their computers/consoles on instead of turning them off.
 

sd11

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The PDF / study notes that all the consoles have a "standby" mode which consumes next to no power (~1-3 watts).

The study assumes that 30% of the people simply leave their consoles idle rather than turning them off (standby).

30% seems like a pretty high percentage of people who don't turn off their consoles. And leave them sitting there ON AND IDLE all day.

I don't turn anything "off". Granted big city and thus small apartment. But I've got (currently) two SLI gaming rigs (one with 480's one with 560's), both with multiple monitors, a file server, two solaris boxes, two arcade machines, 3x TVs, every current console, and a crap ton of networking gear, along with lights and other stuff. I do not turn anything off, unless I need to reboot it.

This is pretty normal for people that live in a city or downtown. Your electric bill is built into your condo fee or rent a large portion of the time, ditto with heating and other things (base rent here would be about 1400 for a studio + 250 a month in fees). It's not like having a house where the heating and base electric bill can be nuts, so most people just live crap running.

How many people here actually turn off their PC? I doubt that many.
 

drako

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Uhh... I live in an apartment and I shut everything off and even unplug some appliances.

I guess not being wasteful isn't good enough reason these days.
 

sleepeeg3

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Here's the relevant part of the study:



The accuracy of that 30% assumption is highly debatable, and they pretty much come out and say it's a complete wild-ass guess.
$1.24B? No f'ing way. Consoles average 1W of power consumption in the off position. That means one would consume 8.76kWh annually. If every person in the US had a console, it would consume 2,628,000,000 kWh of energy. At the $0.13/kWh California residential energy rate that would amount to $341M / year. More likely there is only one console per family, so figure 4 people per family and that goes down to $85M / year. Then factor in that not every family owns a game console and the number goes down even further...

Now how much money is wasted on employing these envirohippies conducting useless studies like this? Can someone gift me the $65k/year these jackoff Ph.D's are probably making for the 5 minutes I spent calculating the non-hyperbolic figure?
 

xxEIEIOxx

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The sky is falling!!!!! They have no idea what I waste electricity on.... meanwhile the people the perform these studies are wasting oxygen.
 

RadCliffeX

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30% seems like a pretty high percentage of people who don't turn off their consoles. And leave them sitting there ON AND IDLE all day.


I can think of two or three people who leave their consoles on idle all day long, hell my nephew is known for leaving his PlayStation on for weeks at a time between the times he plays on it. It personally drives me nuts, I usually leave my DVD player unplugged as well as consoles.
 

nobody_here

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I don't turn anything "off". Granted big city and thus small apartment. But I've got (currently) two SLI gaming rigs (one with 480's one with 560's), both with multiple monitors, a file server, two solaris boxes, two arcade machines, 3x TVs, every current console, and a crap ton of networking gear, along with lights and other stuff. I do not turn anything off, unless I need to reboot it.

This is pretty normal for people that live in a city or downtown. Your electric bill is built into your condo fee or rent a large portion of the time, ditto with heating and other things (base rent here would be about 1400 for a studio + 250 a month in fees). It's not like having a house where the heating and base electric bill can be nuts, so most people just live crap running.

How many people here actually turn off their PC? I doubt that many.

the situation and attitude towards energy use you describe is exactly why everyone pays so much for energy.....energy that was essentially wasted.....is there no personal responsibility anymore?

I know our apartments include water and trash pickup in the rent, and they have sent out more than one notice in the past that people must be using excessive water (no outdoor access) because the usage would spike....

these utilities, water, power.....are not endless resources....
 
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Well, that's pretty close to the 450-500W my PC pulls four-five hours per day, 120W (resting) another eight hours per day, seven days per week, fifty-two weeks per year. Pretty close indeed.
 

xxEIEIOxx

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...these utilities, water, power.....are not endless resources....

They probably are more than they would want us to know. You could probably make a solar powered motor to turn a generator and make free electricity. They may do that some day when it is no longer profitable to do what they are doing. Water isn't going anywhere. It may go from solid to vapor and back again, but it doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't cease to exist. There is no less of it here than there was yesterday.
 

nobody_here

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They probably are more than they would want us to know. You could probably make a solar powered motor to turn a generator and make free electricity. They may do that some day when it is no longer profitable to do what they are doing. Water isn't going anywhere. It may go from solid to vapor and back again, but it doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't cease to exist. There is no less of it here than there was yesterday.

water will be the gold standard one day soon enough....when it becomes tainted and clean water becomes scarce...watch and see
 

wtiger

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$1.24B? No f'ing way. Consoles average 1W of power consumption in the off position. That means one would consume 8.76kWh annually. If every person in the US had a console, it would consume 2,628,000,000 kWh of energy. At the $0.13/kWh California residential energy rate that would amount to $341M / year. More likely there is only one console per family, so figure 4 people per family and that goes down to $85M / year. Then factor in that not every family owns a game console and the number goes down even further...

Now how much money is wasted on employing these envirohippies conducting useless studies like this? Can someone gift me the $65k/year these jackoff Ph.D's are probably making for the 5 minutes I spent calculating the non-hyperbolic figure?

Agreed. It's like they take the worst case scenario. Apply it to every man woman and child in the US and then multiply it by 10.
 

wtiger

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water will be the gold standard one day soon enough....when it becomes tainted and clean water becomes scarce...watch and see

It'll depend on where you live. For instance. Where I live clean water is cheap and plentiful and would remain so it there was 100x the population density. In say Phoenix or LA the real price of water is already ridiculous. Not necessarily what they pay, but the real cost. Building major cities in arid regions is stupid and one day they will learn one way or the other.
 

sd11

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the situation and attitude towards energy use you describe is exactly why everyone pays so much for energy.....energy that was essentially wasted.....is there no personal responsibility anymore?

I know our apartments include water and trash pickup in the rent, and they have sent out more than one notice in the past that people must be using excessive water (no outdoor access) because the usage would spike....

these utilities, water, power.....are not endless resources....

I live in a small apartment, not a house, and don't drive. both of which are far more damaging than items I leave on for crunching, work, or general reasons.

Not to mention I don't live in the suburbs and actually walk to work. I work off K street in DC, it's a 10 min walk, I go home for lunch as well.

Not to mention I don't eat a lot of redmeat, the production of which causes a ton of energy problems.

So my "power burning" is crap compared to a fat redneck, in a house, with a truck, that eats a ton of meat.
 

nobody_here

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I live in a small apartment, not a house, and don't drive. both of which are far more damaging than items I leave on for crunching, work, or general reasons.

Not to mention I don't live in the suburbs and actually walk to work. I work off K street in DC, it's a 10 min walk, I go home for lunch as well.

Not to mention I don't eat a lot of redmeat, the production of which causes a ton of energy problems.

So my "power burning" is crap compared to a fat redneck, in a house, with a truck, that eats a ton of meat.


so the fact you *could* be even less wasteful is justification to continue being as wasteful as you can given your circumstances? lol whut? where does personal responsibility come into play there bro? that's weak....i mean, i get what you are saying...sure, you might be comparatively less wasteful...but that's the most piss poor way to rationalize it....

I drive a 20mpg SUV, to drive one person to work, and burn twice as much fuel doing it as I would use if I used my compact car instead...but I could be driving a M1 Abrams to work.......so it's ok
 

Nside

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So my "power burning" is crap compared to a fat redneck, in a house, with a truck, that eats a ton of meat.

So how many of those "Meat-Eating, Truck-Driving Rednecks" do you think there are compared to people who leave their stuff on 24/7?

Aside from that, Most rednecks own land. Land with trees, grass, water... etc... As long as they aren't doing stupid stuff like dumping motor-oil in the creek that runs through their land, it's like they have their own carbon offset. by maintaining (letting nature maintain) the land.

Last I check, smog has NEVER been an issue in areas rednecks tend to dwell... If water pollution is an issue, it's usually from a factory skirting an environmental policy...

It's no excuse for those bastard rednecks to live the way they do. Just because they have land that naturally creates oxygen and harbors local wildlife, that doesn't mean they should take the catalytic converter off of their truck and burn their garbage in the back yard... That would make them just as bad as that kid that leaves his 3 TVs, multiple consoles and computers on all day just because he walks to work and doesn't eat meat.

oh wait...
 

sd11

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so the fact you *could* be even less wasteful is justification to continue being as wasteful as you can given your circumstances? lol whut? where does personal responsibility come into play there bro? that's weak....i mean, i get what you are saying...sure, you might be comparatively less wasteful...but that's the most piss poor way to rationalize it....

I drive a 20mpg SUV, to drive one person to work, and burn twice as much fuel doing it as I would use if I used my compact car instead...but I could be driving a M1 Abrams to work.......so it's ok

My waste is nothing compared to white hicks in red states that mooch off blue states, drive long distances to work, and have larger homes. When they believe in evolution and raw science, and start to conserve, they can bitch about my minor dent. Till then it's more "lol hicks in flyover country" for the real US.
 

Xae

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My waste is nothing compared to white hicks in red states that mooch off blue states, drive long distances to work, and have larger homes. When they believe in evolution and raw science, and start to conserve, they can bitch about my minor dent. Till then it's more "lol hicks in flyover country" for the real US.

There is a term for this kind of attitude... I'm sure of it... hmmm.
 

sd11

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There is a term for this kind of attitude... I'm sure of it... hmmm.

reality, till we kick the rural and exurbanites off their oil addiction, city slickers walking and taking the subway to work are blameless in this. Plus red state welfare on these issues is so sick. Should just cut them all off the federal tit and let them go broke and starve. It's not like they produce much of anything, economic drain and energy waste that only houses bigots.

I support nuclear power, and the one thing I cross with the greens and liberals on is their fear of it, other than that, they are 100% correct.
 

XacTactX

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Hey guys, forget about the '$1.24 B wasted every year!!!!!!11' headline. Some of the smart people ^^^ already pointed out, that the study just assumed 30% of the population leaves on its game consoles. If the real percentage is 10%, the wasted electricity will be $0.4 B. If it's 50% (which I highly doubt), then the wasted electricity is going to be $2 B. So forget about the actual wasted amount.

Bottom line: we can all do our part to reduce our energy consumption and make life on Earth more sustainable, and turning off appliances in painless compared to the other things we'll have to do one day.
 

sd11

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Hey guys, forget about the '$1.24 B wasted every year!!!!!!11' headline. Some of the smart people ^^^ already pointed out, that the study just assumed 30% of the population leaves on its game consoles. If the real percentage is 10%, the wasted electricity will be $0.4 B. If it's 50% (which I highly doubt), then the wasted electricity is going to be $2 B. So forget about the actual wasted amount.

Bottom line: we can all do our part to reduce our energy consumption and make life on Earth more sustainable, and turning off appliances in painless compared to the other things we'll have to do one day.

The problem is not consumption it's the sources, ie oil, coal, and gas.
 

polive

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My PC is on 24/7. Does that make me a bad person? I'm good at turning off lights and fans though when I'm at home.

I hardly ever watch TV on the big screen, and work is close.

I wish I could solar-power my house, but it's too expensive up front for now.
 

polive

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Also there remains a need to look at major coal-firing industry before individual homes are a huge threat to the environment.
 
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