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As with most things, it's the little things, the things that fly under the radar sometimes that can make a big difference.    One of those little things (turns out it's not so little) came to my attention the other day.  It's not all fun and games when it comes to the latest and most popular games consoles.  

Two of the most popular new video game consoles guzzle large amounts of energy— much of it in standby mode when no one is using them.

The Microsoft Xbox One and Sony Playstation 4 use at least twice as much energy per year as their predecessors largely because of new features, according to tests by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. The tests found the third major console, the Nintendo Wii U, is an "energy sipper."

More below the orange hairpiece.  

The new Xbox One uses 15 watts of continuous power in standby mode and the PS4 uses eight.  Compare that to less than two watts for a desktop in sleep mode.  

"This adds up to several power plants of electricity," Delforge says, noting the 24/7 power usage increases not only consumer utility bills but also heat-trapping carbon pollution generated by these plants....

An estimated 110 million game consoles have been sold nationwide since 2005, and the three brands tested account for at least 90% of the U.S. market. Since hitting the market in November, Sony has sold 7 million worldwide, while Microsoft says more than 5 million Xbox One consoles have been shipped to retailers.
...It estimates that replacing the prior generation of consoles with new models will increase energy usage 10 billion kilowatt-hours annually — enough to power all homes in Houston for a year. (emphasis mine)
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that electronics, along with appliances and lighting, consumes a rising percentage of residential energy use — from 24% in 1993 to nearly 35% in 2009. It says the growing number of devices in homes has offset efficiency gains.
Reading this article got me to thinking.  Before dawn,when I often exercise, I've been annoyed by having to put sheets of paper up to cover the lights  always on emanating from the computer equipment.  So just on a whim I went down and counted them after reading the above referenced article.  I counted 6 on the modem, 4 on the wireless box, one on the electrical strip, one on the printer and finally, not to be outdone, one on the phone.  

These suckers are on all the time, some flashing, some in a steady glow of blue or yellow.  Of course whenever there's a message on the phone another blinking light comes on along with a beeping sound every 15 seconds.  If I turn on the stereo speakers poof there goes another light beaming green.  

Seems to me these are all unnecessary lights using unnecessary electricity but that is just me I guess.  But continuing to play this mental game I asked myself some questions.  Wouldn't it make more sense to have the modem lights come on only when something wasn't working properly?   Same for the wireless box.  Does the electrical strip really need a light at all?  If it isn't working nothing plugged into it will work.  Does the printer really need a light telling me it's ready to print?  Shouldn't it likewise have a light telling me that it isn't ready?  Why does the phone need a light?  Can't I pick it up and hear a dial tone to determine that?  Hell, now that I think of it the damn light stays on at times when there is no dial tone.  So it's really telling me nothing useful.

And then I look over at the stereo speaker.  Fortunately, it's light goes off when I turn off the speakers but when I turn them on poof it lights up.

Why?  Can't I tell when there're not working just my noticing there's no sound coming out of them?  

Scratching my head I enter the bathroom off from my office.  On the floor staring up at me is the light shining from my dentist recommended sonic toothbrush.  It glows constantly indicating it's charging.  Never shuts off so it never tells me when the toothbrush is fully charged.  Same way with the battery recharger I have.  When I have it plugged into the wall charging my A-2 batteries I'm  having to use in everything under the sun these days it always shines green telling me it's charging.  It never shuts off.  Really tells me nothing useful.  

Continuing my little game I come upstairs and notice a light shining from the stereo telling me it's in standby/off mode.  Don't I already know that?  Entering the bedroom I see another dentist recommended sonic toothbrush charging for my wife with its ever present light shining.

I go to the living room window and look out at all the houses I see on the hills surrounding our house.

I wonder about all the lights they have like mine that never shut off.    It boggles my mind.  

Continuing to play the game I drive home from work later that night and look at the Seattle skyline.

I notice all the lights on in the skyscrapers surging upwards into the sky and try to count all the lights on in those buildings that never shut off.  I think of all the cities across the country doing the same.  It boggles my mind.  

After playing this game for a day I reach a conclusion:  

The Church of the Holy Shitters will post articles on our holy S.H.I.T. day ( So Happy It's Thursday)  

Last post on 6/19/14:  Toilet Progress - "Green Going" ?

Next week: 7/10/14:  Don't Piss Off Piss!

Hoping to add some humor, provoke thought, spark debate,  deepen understanding, and shed some light on the fecal side.  

Remember:  "If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit." ( Shitbit by Poop John the First of the Church of the Holy Shitters)
Church of the Holy Shitters
A secular environmental religion, scientifically based, with a focus on the psychology of it all. Our ego is the culprit when it comes to dealing with climate change. We cannot save the planet. We can only save ourselves. Our current egotistical self-perception makes that prospect a dubious one at best. Meekness, humility and a realization that our shit does stink, guides us on our path to true sustainable living and climate equilibrium.

Cross posted at

Originally posted to Holy $h*tters on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 11:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by Seattle & Puget Sound Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 11:35:16 AM PDT

  •  Yup! Thanks, John. ;-) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Crapper

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 04:49:45 PM PDT

  •  You need an observatory. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Crapper

    Kitt Peak is about 50 miles away. (I can see it from my back yard!) Years ago (1972), the astronomers there convinced Tucson & Pima County to enact "light abatement" laws, so we have many fewer lights here than other places, and the ones we have must point downward. Billboards on the interstate are not lit; stores do not have tall bright logo signs.

    It really makes a difference: I can see stars I hadn't seen since I was a kid. It does make earthbound things harder to find at night, though. (Small price, big benefit.)

    I've gone around the house and unplugged everything that has a "pilot light". The light on the power strip that supports the computer/printer/monitor/etc. is there to remind me to turn it (and all that other stuff) off when I shut down. :)

    Reality has a well-known liberal bias -- Stephen Colbert

    by ItsaMathJoke on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 07:52:54 PM PDT

  •   I live in an apartment building that has been (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Crapper

    hit by lightening 3x right next to my apartment. I've lost three phones and a big Unlimited Power Supply I had my computer plugged into.

    Now, if there is a storm or whenever I'm not using my computer or any other equipment I unplug everything, including power supplies and phone lines from from the modem. I leave everything unplugged until I use it. I created a habit because of the lightening, but it seems much quieter and more peaceful when things are unplugged and I'm happy with it.

    The only thing I have on all the time with a light is a clock on the night stand next to my bed. The light bugs me so I cover it up at night. I suppose I could use a clock I wind up, but it would have to be quiet. I'm going to check into that.  My phones are old tech and cheap without lights, like cheap umbrellas I can replace if they get zapped again.

    The numbers you calculate are impressive especially when you think of them multiplied by so many people.  I don't have any television service and don't want it, but I do like my laptop to connect with the world.

    Nice think piece, John.

    I'm on Twitter: ThisMagicalEarth@MagicalEarth

    by ParkRanger on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 08:55:27 PM PDT

  •  So turn them off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Crapper

    Do you need your modem and wireless on 24/7? If not, then turn them off. Do you really need your printer to be on, even when you're not working on the computer? Why not turn them off?

    Just flip the switch on the electrical switch to "off" and turn them all off.

    I used to turn the TV off before turning in to bed. Now I plug the TV to a power strip and turn the strip off.

    It's called "vampire power"

    Lights are good. When the lights are out, that's when we really know that the appliances are not sucking electricity.

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