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  • [ July 8, 2013 ]
  • Your Internet wastes more energy than you think


After talking about ways to fight back against energy-vampires, a recent report points to what could be the biggest culprit in your home: the internet, or more specifically, devices such as routers and modems that are constantly sucking up energy in your home.

According to the Huffington Post, Americans, who currently consume approximately $1 billion in electricity per year due to their home networking devices, could be saving $330 million if they switch to energy efficient models.

The Natural Resources Defense Counsel (NRDC)  recently released a report, “Cutting Energy and Costs to Connect to the Internet: Improving the Efficiency of Home Network Equipment,” examining how much constant connection costs. They found that standard modems, wireless routers, and similar devices consume as much energy as a 32-inch flat-screen TV. There are approximately 145 million in use nationwide, using approximately 8.3 billion kWH hours of electricity each year, which is equivalent to the output of three large, coal-burning power plants (500 MW). According to the NRDC, that’s “an estimated 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, equivalent to the pollution spewing from the tailpipes of 1.1 million vehicles.”

Image Courtesy of the NRDC

NRDC Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz said, “Small network devices suck roughly the same amount of energy around the clock, whether or not you are sending or receiving any data. But there are steps that manufacturers can – and should – take to make sure these devices are no longer energy vampires.”

The EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program plans to issue a specification soon that will result in a label to help customers buy efficient models and choose Internet providers offering energy-saving network equipment. According to Mr. Horowitz, many new models in 2014 will sport the label and use power-scaling technology, automatically using less power when they are in sleep or “idle” mode.

Sources:
Internet Energy Efficiency: NRDC Study Questions Power Drain From Routers, Modems, Huffington Post
How Many Dollars and Power Plants Does It Take to Run our Modems & Routers?, NRDC

 

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  • Thomas R. O’Donnell

    These are eye-opening statistics that I think will surprise people. I always unplug my modem when I leave for vacation, and often on other occasions — but not nearly often enough. Another reason to disconnect: The more your modem/router is on, the more likely someone may hack into the wifi and abuse your connection

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