The modern home is littered with all manner of electric-powered buzzle-a-dubbles, wifi-enabled gizmotrons, AND all the cords, wires, and charges needed to keep them going. These is our messy connected future. Have you ever wonder about the true cost of powering our digital lives? The answers may surprise you.
The Electric Power Research Institute's (EPRI) recently ran a battery of tests on various popular consumer products at their laboratories in Knoxville, Tennessee to find out how much of your energy (and money) they sucked up in a year.
Despite how much of our lives we spend plugging our gadgets in, the numbers aren't very intimidating. For example each model of Apple's iPad consumed less than 12kWh of juice over the course of an entire year (based on a full charge-up every other day). That translates to roughly $1.36 to keep your iPad charged annually. To put that in some perspective, the iPad uses less electricity than a 60W CFL light bulb which sucks in 14kWh of electricity and cost $1.61 per year.
The analysis showed that the Apple 3G phone sucked up 2.2 kWh of electricity throughout the year, which costs around a quarter annually. Laptop PCs consumed around 72.3 kWh of electricity per year at a cost of $8.31, while bulky desktops cost more than three times more at $28.21/year. While a refrigerator runs around $65.72 per year to keep powered.
"As information technologies continue to change rapidly we see important implications for energy consumption," commented Mark McGranaghan, vice president of Power Delivery and Utilization at EPRI in a press release. "These results raise important questions about how the shifting reliance from desktop to laptop to mobile devices will change energy use and electricity requirements for the information age."
Another thing to keep in mind is how many other forms of electronic consumption have been depleted because of our digital world. There is less need for paper consumption, book/magazine production, and physical media productions, just to name a few.
In a weird way, our increasing reliance on electric-powered gadgetry may help lessen our need for power.