What uses more electricity, your XBox, or San Diego?

Okay, the question is more like this:

Which uses all more electricity: all the video game consoles in the United States (Xbox, PS3, Wii, etc), or the entire city of San Diego?

The answer is, they’re tied. I’ll throw some numbers at you, for context:

  • 40 per cent of all homes in the U.S. have at least one console
  • San Diego is the ninth-largest city in the U.S.
  • A PS3 or an XBox uses about as much energy over a year as two brand-new refrigerators
  • A Wii uses less than 15% the power of a PS3 or an XBox
  • There are 1.3 million people in San Diego, many of them chugging air conditioners in the southern California heat.

My eyes just about popped out of my head when I realized just how much power is being used by people leaving their video games on for days at a time, just because it’s easier than hitting the save button.

I learned about this from a New York Times story, but you can download the original report here, where you will also find out that using you game console as a Blu-Ray player uses several times more energy than a standalone player would.

Oh, and by the way: that’s 16 billion kWh of energy that San Diego and video games each use every year. The report’s authors estimate that 11 billion kWh of that could be trimmed with simple energy-saving ideas like an auto-save hibernation feature, like the one on your laptop.

One thought on “What uses more electricity, your XBox, or San Diego?”

  1. Sadly, this is still such a minimal problem on a large scale. There have to be dozens of common household objects just like gaming consoles that eat up just as much energy. The “energy crisis” that we are currently mired in the midst of is radically out of hand, and we need more than just smart xbox’s to even make a dent.

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