How energy-efficient am I?

According to a report in today’s Observer [link], Dr Joseph Reger, chief technology officer at Fujitsu Siemens Computers in
Munich, Germany, has warned that if half of British homes buy plasma-screen televisions, two nuclear power stations would have to be built to meet the extra energy demand. Plasma sets, he says, use up four times as much electricity as the conventional cathode-ray model. When we combine this with all the other gadgets – set-top boxes, digital video recorders, home PCs DVD players – that we use daily, we are, it seems,  becoming major contributors to the energy crisis.   

Last year consumer electronics used the equivalent of 18 terawatt hours – equivalent to the annual output from five standard power stations, and amounting to 30 per cent of the country’s total domestic electricity consumption. The Department for the Environment estimates this could rise to 31 terawatt hours by 2010, mainly due to the rise in the number of TVs, demand for bigger screens and set-top boxes. Projections show that more than 50 million digital set-top boxes will be in
UK homes by 2012. Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: ‘As the consumer electronics market continues to grow, further development of energy-efficient products will be vital to help in the fight against climate change. TVs are here to stay, but people can change how they use them, for example, turning them off standby when not in use.’

A sharp reminder that we can all do much better when it comes to being energy-efficient.

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