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Energy Consumption on ‘Standby’

Last week we commented on an article from the Globe and Mail that reported that electricity use from network based devices is climbing at a rate of 6 percent each year. It is shocking to realize that power consumption by these types of devices while on stand-by equals the output of 200 medium sized coal-fired power plants.

Our economies are becoming more and more digital. Billions of devices are connecting across millions of networks. The publication More Data, Less Energy: Making Networks Standby More Efficient in Billions of Connected Devices sheds light on the hidden energy costs that come with electronics such as laptops, PCs, modems, printers, game consoles and cable boxes. Sure, data centre energy is in high demand and is receiving a lot of attention, but what about the growing energy demand of billions of networked devices that are drawing energy 24/7, even when they are on standby.ularly common in an industrial setting.

Studies shnt of the energy used is consumed just to maintain a network connection, even if the device isn’t performing its main function. Last year these devices consumed more than 600 terawatt hours of electricity. The use of network based devices is only going to increase rapidly.

“Based on a compound annual growth rate of 6% between 2014 and 2025, demand is expected to double in the next decade. Without concerted measures to improve energy efficiency, network -enabled devices used in homes and offices will use 1140 TWh/year by 2025 (more than the current electricity demand of Russia).´- More Data, Less Energy Fact Sheet

What is needed? Some say an international policy for standby energy consumption of devices that use network connection and standby mode. Fortunately, the Canadian government has introduced new standards for televisions, video and audio equipment to improve energy consumption…but is it enough?

Read last week’s blog “A World of Gadgets Sends Electricity Use Soaring” and participate in our poll!