Just when you were getting ready to splurge for that new video gaming console this holiday season, here comes the eco-Grinch. According to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the "big three" video game consoles—Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBox360 and the Nintendo Wii—collectively waste upwards of $1 billion worth of energy as measured in utility bills by consuming nearly as much power when left on, but idle, as when in use. The group recommends that manufacturers incorporate more prominent and accessible energy-saving features into future versions of their gaming consoles—such as automatic power-down functionality—that would save consumers money on their electric bills while eliminating significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.
In the report, titled "Lowering the Cost of Play," NRDC makes concrete recommendations for how consumers can set up their gaming consoles to power down when not in use, and also sets guidelines for electronics manufacturers to lower the energy demands of their products.
"If you leave your Xbox 360 or Sony Play Station 3 on all the time, you can cut your electric bill by as much as $100 a year simply by turning it off when you are finished playing," said NRDC Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz. "With so many struggling in today's economy—it's important to realize there are simple steps gamers can take to lower their energy costs. And if manufacturers make future systems more energy efficient, they"ll be doing the right thing for consumers" pockets, for our clean energy future and for the environment."