Though parents have a hard enough time convincing kids that lawns do, in fact, grow back and need to be mowed regularly, getting that point across when it comes to turning lights off and keeping windows and doors closed can be just as difficult. Now, with video games becoming increasingly powerful and energy bills on the rise, parents have new energy wasters to worry about.
Granted, video games aren t just for kids, in fact, adults are the fastest growing demographic in the video game industry, but the cost of gaming only begins with the video game console and its games.

Here are some power consumption figures for the three most popular video game platforms. Though improvements to the CPU, GPU and other hardware components in Microsoft s Xbox 360 and Sony s PS3 have enhanced video and graphic output while improving speed and performance, those improvements come at quite a cost to energy.

Power Consumption Comparisons
Console Wii Xbox 360 PS3
During Gameplay 17.8 W 185.1 W 193.6 W
Idle 13.5 W 157.54 W 177.17 W
Standy 1.3 W 2.5 W 1.9 W

The Wii, whose hardware components still resemble those of 6th Generation-Era video game consoles like PS2 and Xbox, is the most conservative in its energy consumption. However, even in standby mode, the Wii is capable of leaking or using just as much energy as the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Energy Leakage Comparisons
Console Xbox 360 PS3 Wii Xbox PS2
Energy Leakage 2.5 W 1.9 W 1.3 W 0.4 W 2 W
kWh Waster/Year 18.35 kWh 17.23 kWh 12.56 kWh 3.50 kWh 17.52 kWh

Annual Cost*

$2.75 $2.58 $1.88 $0.53 $2.63

*Based on a $0.15/kWh billing.

Though $2.75 cents doesn t look like much, imagine every other appliance that remains plugged in, such as TVs, computers, stereo equipment, and combine that with appliances such as ovens, microwaves, heating and cooling units, etc. Now, you get the picture. You are likely to spend a lot of money on a lot of devices that remain plugged in despite not being used.

Even with a modest video game play figure of 2 hours a day or 14 hours weekly, energy bills can grow to become the size of monthly payments. Worse, with many video game consoles offering various multimedia functions, these figures are likely to be even higher. The Xbox 360 and PS3 are likely to consume 3x as much energy during DVD, HD DVD or Blu-Ray Disc play than DVD, HD DVD and Blu-Ray Disc players alone.

Energy Comparisons
Console Xbox 360 PS3 Wii Xbox PS2
kWh Leaked Annualy 16.05 kWh 16.00 kWh 12.56 kWh 3.21 kWh 16.05 kWh
Annual in $ Leaked $2.41 $2.25 $1.88 $0.48 $2.41
kWh Played Annually 116.48 kWh 112.50 kWh 21.48 kWh 50.96 kWh 21.84 kWh
Annual $ Played $17.47 $16.77 $3.28 $7.64 $3.28
Totaly Annual Cost* $19.88 $19.02 $5.16 $8.12 $5.69

*Based on $0.15/kWh billing.

But, there is hope for a smaller energy bill that doesn t involve potential jail time. Best of all, most of these strategies can also extend the life of your video game console, audio and video equipment.

Below are some helpful strategies to conserve energy and reduce your power bill.

 Done with it? Unplug it!
By simply unplugging your video game console when not in use, any and all energy leakage that may have occurred is avoided completely.

Power Strips
Power strips offer a similar functionality to simply unplugging a video game console. However, they only work if the power strip itself is turned off when not in use. When the power strip is turned on, some energy leakage is still possible, so remember to turn it off and keep it off when not in use.

Forget the Screensaver
Screensavers are intended to save computer and television screens from residual images and tube or other component burn outs, not save power. Whether the video game is in standby mode or completely turned off, it is still using power.

Less is More
Other health, social and work concerns aside, longer term video game use can make the hardware components perform less efficiently and consume more power as a result. This not only consumes more than the usual amount of energy over time, but also greatly reduces the life of the video game console.

Keep it Cool
Like most non-culinary electronics, high heat is a bad sign and generally means poor energy conservation and performance. Most video game consoles have third-party manufactured fans and cooling units to keep temperatures down, but taking other steps like regular dusting and vacuuming can also help maintain cooler temperatures.

By using just a few, or all, of these steps, energy savings are guaranteed and the lifespan of the video game console is generally increased. Best of all, these same strategies can be used for most consumer electronics, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars every year.


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