“Standby” guzzles billions of pounds in energy

Growing stockpiles of gadgets which “talk” to each other are via networks are wasting $80 billion (£47bn) a year guzzling ever more energy, a report has warned. The world’s 14 […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Growing stockpiles of gadgets which “talk” to each other are via networks are wasting $80 billion (£47bn) a year guzzling ever more energy, a report has warned.

The world’s 14 billion online electronic devices including phones, printers and game consoles are so wasteful because of inefficient technology.

In its ‘More Data, Less Energy’ report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the phrase “standby” is a “misnomer” because it hints a device has gone to sleep when most network-enabled devices draw as much power in this mode as they do when “on”.

In 2013, the world’s networked devices gobbled around 616 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, most on which was used in standby mode, according to the IEA’s Executive Director.

Maria van der Hoeven said: “Of that total, around 400 TWh – equivalent to the electricity consumed annually by the United Kingdom and Norway combined – was wasted because of inefficient technology.”

With more gadgets being bought, energy use could nearly double by 2025 if efficient design isn’t made a priority, suggested the report.

The problem is not the devices being in standby mode, said the IEA boss, “but rather that they typically use much more power than they should to maintain a connection and communicate with the network.”

Ms. Van der Hoeven added: “Just by using today’s best available technology, such devices could perform exactly the same tasks in standby while consuming around 65% less power.”