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Plugged-in Age Feeds A Hunger For Electricity

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/business...mp;ref=business

With two laptop-loving children and a Jack Russell terrier hemmed in by an electric fence, Peter Troast figured his household used a lot of power. Just how much power did not really hit him until the night the family turned off the overhead lights at their home in Maine and began hunting gadgets that glowed in the dark.

“It was amazing to see all these lights blinking,†Mr. Troast said.

As goes the Troast household, so goes the planet.

Electricity use from power-hungry gadgets is rising fast all over the world. The fancy new flat-panel televisions everyone has been buying in recent years have turned out to be bigger power hogs than some refrigerators.

The proliferation of personal computers, iPods, cellphones, game consoles and all the rest amounts to the fastest-growing source of power demand in the world. Americans now have about 25 consumer electronic products in every household, compared with just three in 1980.

Worldwide, consumer electronics now represent 15 percent of household power demand, and that is expected to triple over the next two decades, according to the International Energy Agency, making it more difficult to tackle the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.

To satisfy the demand from gadgets will require building the equivalent of 560 coal-fired power plants, or 230 nuclear plants, according to the agency.

Most energy experts see only one solution: mandatory efficiency rules specifying how much power devices may use.

Appliances like refrigerators are covered by such rules in the United States. But efforts to cover consumer electronics like televisions and game consoles have been repeatedly derailed by manufacturers worried about the higher cost of meeting the standards. That has become a problem as the spread of such gadgets counters efficiency gains made in recent years in appliances.

In 1990, refrigerator efficiency standards went into effect in the United States. Today, new refrigerators are fancier than ever, but their power consumption has been slashed by about 45 percent since the standards took effect. Likewise, thanks in part to standards, the average power consumption of a new washer is nearly 70 percent lower than a new unit in 1990.

“Standards are one of the few ways to cheaply go after big chunks of energy savings,†said Chris Calwell, a founder and senior researcher at Ecos, a consulting firm that specializes in energy efficiency.

Part of the problem is that many modern gadgets cannot entirely be turned off; even when not in use, they draw electricity while they await a signal from a remote control or wait to record a television program.

“We have entered this new era where essentially everything is on all the time,†said Alan Meier, a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a leading expert on energy efficiency.

People can, of course, reduce this waste — but to do so takes a single-minded person.

Mr. Troast, of South Freeport, Me., is just the kind of motivated homeowner willing to tackle such a project. His day job is selling energy efficiency equipment through an online business. He was not put off by the idea of hunting behind cabinets to locate every power supply and gadget, like those cable boxes, Web routers or computers that glowed in the dark.

The Troasts cut their monthly energy use by around 16 percent, partly by plugging their computers and entertainment devices into smart power strips. The strips turn off when the electronics are not in use, cutting power consumption to zero.

While Mr. Troast’s experience demonstrates that consumers can limit the power wasted by inactive devices, another problem is not as easily solved: many products now require large amounts of power to run.

The biggest offender is the flat-screen television. As liquid crystal displays and plasma technologies replace the old cathode ray tubes, and as screen sizes increase, the new televisions need more power than older models do. And with all those gorgeous new televisions in their living rooms, Americans are spending more time than ever watching TV, averaging five hours a day.

The result is a surge in electricity use by TVs, which can draw more power in a year than some refrigerators now on the market. Energy experts say that manufacturers have paid too little attention to the power consumption of televisions, in part because of the absence of federal regulation.

Another power drain is the video game console, which is found in 40 percent of American households. Energy experts — and many frustrated parents — say that since saving games is difficult, children often keep the consoles switched on so they can pick up where they left off.

Great news for the power companies, not so good for the planet.

This exponential growth in electricity consumption is completely unsustainable.

Unless they start to consume less energy I think the price of energy will discourage the buying power hungry TV's and consoles. For the electronics companies this is good news as they will have a new selling point for there products once everyone has a HD TV get a HD efficient TV.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/business...mp;ref=business

Great news for the power companies, not so good for the planet.

This exponential growth in electricity consumption is completely unsustainable.

Unless they start to consume less energy I think the price of energy will discourage the buying power hungry TV's and consoles. For the electronics companies this is good news as they will have a new selling point for there products once everyone has a HD TV get a HD efficient TV.

When I was choosing a new TV a year or so back, it was a serious consideration. I went for a 'small' 32" LCD instead of a 42" plasma because of these numbers:

Panasonic Viera 42-Inch Plasma Power Consumption : 573W

Panasonic VIERA 32-Inch LCD Rated Power Consumption: 120 W

Apart from owt else, a half kilowatt idiot box in the corner of the room would chuck out a huge amount of heat, even in the summer!

edit to add 'plasma'

Edited by newp

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Panasonic Viera 42-Inch Plasma Power Consumption : 573W

Panasonic VIERA 32-Inch LCD Rated Power Consumption: 120 W

Jesus that's a huge difference, however what's the difference between a 42" LCD and Plasma? Are LED TV's far more efficient or has making them bright increased the power consumption significantly.

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Jesus that's a huge difference, however what's the difference between a 42" LCD and Plasma? Are LED TV's far more efficient or has making them bright increased the power consumption significantly.

Plasma consumes more electricity than a LCD and a LCD consumes more electricity than a CRT

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http://asia.cnet.com/buyingguides/home_av/...985379-3,00.htm

Energy efficiency: An LED TV consumes the least power among all HDTVs with a substantial energy savings of up to 40 percent compared with a conventional lamp-based LCD model. The other major benefits of using light-emitting diodes include an extended panel lifespan, low heat emission and better eco-friendliness. The latter is due to the mercury-free design of these energy-efficient bulbs.

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Jesus that's a huge difference, however what's the difference between a 42" LCD and Plasma? Are LED TV's far more efficient or has making them bright increased the power consumption significantly.

Yes, I got those numbers from Amazon.I presume the plasma numbers are a theoretical maximum for when it's running flat out with sound and brightness at max in HDTV mode? I would imaging it's about half that for typical running. I know that the screen on my 32" LCD is warm to the touch - it acts as a pretty good radiatior in the winter (unfortunately it also does in the summer).

Roll on LED HDTV TVs that use <100w. And cheap LED light bulbs.

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I’ve been measuring my stuff with one of those power thingies – here’s a Sony 32-inch Bravia LCD running at normally at 94.3W (and 17.2W on standby.) Interestingly, an iPhone charges at 5.3W and the charger idles at <200mW.

ruz9rc.png

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Guest sillybear2
I’ve been measuring my stuff with one of those power thingies – here’s a Sony 32-inch Bravia LCD running at normally at 94.3W (and 17.2W on standby.) Interestingly, an iPhone charges at 5.3W and the charger idles at <200mW.

ruz9rc.png

17.2W or 1.72W?

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I’ve been measuring my stuff with one of those power thingies – here’s a Sony 32-inch Bravia LCD running at normally at 94.3W (and 17.2W on standby.) Interestingly, an iPhone charges at 5.3W and the charger idles at <200mW.

Neat gizmo, must get one. In which case I amend my comment to 'Roll on 32" LED HDTV TVs that use <60w. ' I saw a TV feature about michael owen when he played for Newcastle - he had what looked like a 72" HDTV Plasma on the wall - wonder what that consumed!?

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Guest sillybear2
Yup, a surprising 17.2W. :o

Yeah, almost like having a couple of energy saving lamps running, I thought they had the standby problem sorted! This 24" monitor uses 1.5W in sleep mode. I guess your Bravia keeps its Freeview tuner on all the time for EPG and software updates.

Edited by sillybear2

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I’ve been measuring my stuff with one of those power thingies �" here’s a Sony 32-inch Bravia LCD running at normally at 94.3W (and 17.2W on standby.) Interestingly, an iPhone charges at 5.3W and the charger idles at <200mW.

ruz9rc.png

17.2 watts is rediculously high in standby. I would never buy a sony product, awful IMO.

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I know the currently house is ticking over at .39 kw (energy meter on the mantelpiece), at night it drops to .2kw, and it uses about 16 kw a day. All the lights are energy saving, but the place is full of laptops

Edited by moosetea

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Guest sillybear2
I know the currently house is ticking over at .39 kw (energy meter on the mantelpiece), at night it drops to .2kw. All the lights are energy saving, but the place is full of laptops...

If the heat doesn't roast your nads and render you infertile the WiFi will. That 190W ends up somewhere!

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If the heat doesn't roast your nads and render you infertile the WiFi will. That 190W ends up somewhere!

hopefully most of the power goes into quad cores, screen, memory and hdd and eventually turns into heat... The maximum legally allowed output over wifi is 0.1watts

Edited by moosetea

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Plasma consumes more electricity than a LCD and a LCD consumes more electricity than a CRT

The least efficient is CRT - by a long way.

Plasma is a bit more efficient (modern ones, at least - the first generation were massive power hogs). Then comes LCD as most efficient of the major technologies - a modest amount better than a modern plasma.

The most important thing is screen area - as power consumption is proprortional to this. Also remember that a 40" screen is 4 times as large as a 20" screen. (More when comparing to CRT as plasma and LCD measure the actual visible screen - CRT measures the size of the glass tube - overstating the screen size by about 1-1.5")

So before comparing a 50" plasma to a 20" CRT, and saying 'oh my god' what an inefficient technology, when you find that the plasma needs 450W and the CRT 150W, you need to consider the fact that the plasma screen is 7 times the size.

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FYI I got these from the panasonic website for their latest, most efficient,TVs:

65" Plasma Rated Power Consumption 595W, 430w average (Display only)

54" Plasma Rated Power Consumption 420w, 320w average

42" Plasma Rated Power Consumption 350W, 200w average

32" LCD Rated Power Consumption 138W, 100W average

I would still go for the 32" LCD - my father in law has a 42" and it seems to totally dominate his living room.

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So before comparing a 50" plasma to a 20" CRT, and saying 'oh my god' what an inefficient technology, when you find that the plasma needs 450W and the CRT 150W, you need to consider the fact that the plasma screen is 7 times the size.

In fairness, the OP was about the soaring energy consumption of modern gadgets in the home.

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OK, There may be two stages of standby - I'll do the experiment. After turning off via the remote it's sitting at 17.5W ... I'll wait and see if it times out to a lower power state.

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Also great news for those that wish to identify a market opportunity and position themselves on the supply side of the equation. Thast the way I read this.

G'day mate. If you live in a net energy exporting country like you do, that's true. But in the UK we're energy importers, so every extra kwh adds to the budget deficit of our tattered economy.

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OK, There may be two stages of standby - I'll do the experiment. After turning off via the remote it's sitting at 17.5W ... I'll wait and see if it times out to a lower power state.

Experimental Confirmation – the Sony has three power states and therefore appears redeemed: :)

1. Normal running ~90W, depending on brightness.

2. Hot standby 17.2W, fast start, 10 minute timeout to #3

3. Cold standby < 200mW (goes to #2 for 5-10 seconds, then #1)

Edited by spline

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