The Vice of Devices: How Our Mobile Gadgets are Wasting Billions in Electricity

Our society is increasingly plugged in.

Yet our growing dependence on mobile devices, computers, televisions and more is costing us more than you might expect.

According to a July 3 Economic Times article, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found that the approximately 14 billion televisions, printers, video game consoles and other electronics around the world that stay plugged in all day waste an astounding $80 billion of electricity each year.

The IEA went on to estimate that we will waste about $120 billion annually by 2020, because so many of these devices continue to use power even when set to standby mode, the Economic Times reports.

However, the real problem isn’t putting networked electronics on standby — these devices are using so much energy because they aren’t equipped with the proper energy-saving technology, the IEA says.

The problem is not that these devices are often in standby mode, but rather that they typically use much more power than they should to maintain a connection and communicate with the network,” Maria Van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA, said in a statement. “Just by using today’s best available technology, such devices could perform exactly the same tasks in standby while consuming around 65% less power.”

The IEA’s report also proposed a wide variety of solutions for reducing energy waste, according to a WireUpdate.com article. If policy-makers, manufacturers and software and hardware developers make changes to these electronics to make them more energy-efficient, some 600 TWh of energy can be conserved. This amount of energy is equal to closing 200 standard coal-fired power plants, and would reduce carbon emissions by 600 million metric tons each year, WireUpdate.com reports.

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