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‘Standby Mode’ Wastes 400 TWh per Year

Linda Hardesty

computer energy manageThe world’s 14 billion online electronic devices – such as laptops, PCs, modems, printers, game consoles and set-top boxes – waste around $80 billion each year because of inefficient technology, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report, “More Data, Less Energy: Making Network Standby More Efficient in Billions of Connected Devices,” finds that much of the problem boils down to inefficient “network standby” where many devices draw as much power in this mode as when activated to perform their main tasks.

In 2013, the world’s networked devices consumed around 616 TWh of electricity, the majority of which was used in standby mode, says IEA. Of that total, around 400 TWh was wasted because of inefficient technology.

Cisco has found that a single workplace device is left powered on for an average of 8,000 hours over the course of its use but only actually utilized 25-50 percent of the time.

A study released in March on virtual energy assessments conducted with nine Boston buildings found that plug loads represent a significant portion of energy use in commercial buildings and that plug load reductions are currently under-incentivized by utilities and existing energy efficiency programs.

Just by using today’s best available technology, such devices could perform exactly the same tasks while consuming around 65 percent less power, says IEA. The agency urges an international initiative to enhance standards, as the issue is global.

Photo: Computers via Shutterstock



2 comments on “‘Standby Mode’ Wastes 400 TWh per Year

  1. more important to realise perhaps … by my calculation … that’s 22,0000,000,000 Kg/Year Carbon Dioxide pollution going up into the atmosphere for nothing … just in case anyone is wondering “global warming – what can I do about it?” P.S ~22,0000,000,000 Kg = ~240,000,000 tons

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