Video game console usage and US national energy consumption: Results from a field-metering study
There has been an increased in attention placed on the energy consumption of miscellaneous electronic loads in buildings by energy analysts and policymakers in recent years. The share of electricity consumed by consumer electronics in US households has increased in the last decade. Many devices, however, lack robust energy use data, making energy consumption estimates difficult and uncertain. Video game consoles are high-performance machines present in approximately half of all households and can consume a considerable amount of power. The precise usage of game consoles has significant uncertainty, however, leading to a wide range of recent national energy consumption estimates. We present here an analysis based on field-metered usage data, collected as part of a larger field metering study in the USA. This larger study collected data from 880 households in 2012 on a variety of devices, including 113 game consoles (the majority of which are Generation 7 consoles). From our metering, we find that although some consoles are left on nearly 24 h/day, the overall average usage is lower than many other studies have assumed, leading to a US national energy consumption estimate of 7.1 TWh in 2012. Nevertheless, there is an opportunity to reduce energy use with proper game console power management, as a substantial amount of game console usage occurs with the television turned off. The emergence of Generation 8 consoles may increase national energy consumption.