Report: Electronics waste $80B in power annually

Turn off that X-Box, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday, because consoles and other electronic devices like it are wasting $80 billion of power every year.

In a new report, the IEA states inefficient technology such as modems, printers, set-top boxes and gaming consoles will waste an estimated $120 billion across the globe by 2020.

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IEA reports that simple measures can help improve energy efficiency in some 14 billion electronic devices used in the world, which will help save large amounts of energy and money.

"The proliferation of connected devices brings many benefits to the world, but right now the cost is far higher than it should be,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in a statement Wednesday.

"Consumers are losing money in the form of wasted energy, which is leading to more costly power stations and more distribution infrastructure being built than we would otherwise need — not to mention all the extra greenhouse gases that are being emitted," she added.

The problem is the inefficiency of "network standby," the report explains, the ability of devices to maintain a network connection when in standby.

The report states when a device is in standby many think that means it is asleep, but in reality the device continues to suck as much power as when it is activated and being used.

"Just by using today’s best available technology, such devices could perform exactly the same tasks in standby while consuming around 65 percent less power," van der Hoeven said.

The IEA recommends companies and lawmakers push for use of more efficient and advanced technology to ensure such devices use less energy.

The agency urges lawmakers, software and hardware developers, manufactures and the like to reduce energy demand and set standards for such electronic devices.

The report concludes that if better energy efficiency measures are taken for online devices in the next few years, it would save 600 terawatts of energy, which is equal to shutting 200 standard 500 megawatt coal-fired power plants.

That would also lead to a cut in 600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the report.