Game consoles zapping U.S. energy

Logo from an Xbox start-up screen


Bill Radke: This morning, the Senate is hearing proposals for improving energy efficiency. They'll be talking about kitchen appliances and home improvement rebates. And, of course, the energy use of video game consoles. Here's Marketplace's Brett Neely.

Brett Neely: About 40 percent of American households now own video game systems like this Xbox:

[Sound of an Xbox starting up]

Noah Horowitz is with the Natural Resources Defense Council. He says the most popular models are energy vampires.

Noah Horowitz: If you leave your Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 on all night long when you're done, you're using as much energy each year as two new refrigerators would.

Nationally, game consoles could be using as much energy as San Diego does in a year. And it's not just video games that have a power problem -- so do 42-inch TVs.

Horowitz: That's almost like putting a new kitchen's worth of energy into your home.

Horowitz says the Energy Department can require makers to build a sleep function into the next generation of game consoles. Until then, use a power strip and just flip the switch when you're done.

In Washington, I'm Brett Neely for Marketplace.


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