Video game consoles left running round-the-clock can send your annual electricity bill soaring. That's probably no surprise for most gamers. But the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based conservation group, has conducted a study of gaming machine energy use to raise awareness among gamers and pressure manufacturers into making more energy-efficient machines.
The NRDC's study found that Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii machines in the U.S. use about as much electricity in a year as every home in San Diego combined. Much of the energy comes from machines that are left on, but not in use, the NRDC said.
Of the three consoles, Sony's PS3 was the biggest energy hog, followed by Microsoft's Xbox 360. Nintendo's Wii is by far the most energy efficient-and even uses less electricity than its predecessor, GameCube.
To quote: With more efficient devices and by utilizing existing power-saving features, consumers could save more than $1 billion a year on utility bills and reduce as much global warming pollution per year as the tailpipe emissions from all the cars in San Jose.
Specifically, automatic power-down features - which shut off devices if they are left idle for a certain amount of time - are big energy-savers. The feature exists in the Xbox 360 and was recently added to the PlayStation 3, but it is rarely used and leaves room for improvement.
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