Are Electronic Gadgets Really Energy Vampires?
Study predicts that energy use by new electronic devices will triple by 2030 but sees considerable room for more efficiency
Just how much are the consistently increasing popularity of electronic gadgets such as iPhones, Blackberries, TV’s and PC’s contributing to a global energy drain?
According to the findings of a new study conducted for the International Energy Agency (IEA), electronic devices currently account for 15% of household electricity consumption but their share is rapidly rising.
The report, called “Gadgets and Gigawatts: Policies for Energy Efficient Electronics” was presented by IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka in Paris, who said that despite the anticipated improvements in the efficiency of electronic devices, the savings will be overshadowed by the rising demand for technology around the world.
According to the study, more than half of the global population subscribes to mobile phone services, and the number of external power supplies that are associated with many electronic devices is more than 5.5 billion.
“Many mobile devices are already far more efficient in their use of power than other devices which run off a main electricity supply,” explained Mr. Tanaka. “Because extending the battery life of a mobile device is a selling point, manufacturers place an emphasis on designing products which require very little power.
“This example shows us what can be achieved. Where no such commercial drivers exist, governments must step in to ensure that we make the most of every energy efficiency opportunity,” he said.
One state, California, is moving ahead with a proposal which would regulate the sale of TV’s that don’t meet with their energy efficiency standards.
There are nearly 2 billion television sets in use, with an average of over 1.3 sets in each home having access to electricity. The projections are for there to be more than 3.5 billion mobile phone subscribers by next year.
The IEA contends that the problem can be reduced by tapping into technologies that are already available, which would slow growth in consumption to less than 1% per annum through 2030.
“This level of energy saving represents a reduction to consumer energy bills by over USD 130 billion in 2030 and the avoidance of 260 GW in additional power generation capacity – more than the current electrical generating capacity of Japan” the IEA says.