Connected devices waste $80 billion in electricity annually

July 2, 2014, 10:43 PM UTC

The next time you power on your television or game consoles, take a second to think about the waste associated with it.

A report by the International Energy Agency, an organizations that advises developed nations, released on Wednesday did just that and the sum is astounding. Over $80 billion in power was spent unnecessarily in 2013 because of inefficiencies with the world’s 14 billion online electronic devices, including printers, gaming consoles and televisions.

By 2020, that number is expected to climb to $120 billion as more devices like washing machines, light bulbs and refrigerators are connect online, according to the report.

“Electricity demand of our increasingly digital economies is growing at an alarming rate,” the report said.  The IEA, which is based in Paris, found that devices consumed about 616 terawatt-hours of power in 2013. The catch? Most of that power was used while the devices were in standby mode.

“The problem is not that these devices are often in standby mode, but rather that they typically use much more power than they should to maintain a connection and communicate with the network,” said Maria Van der Hoeven, the IEA’s executive director, in a statement.

The IEA also said that the idea of the standby option on a devise is a “misnomer.” While it “suggests that the device has gone to sleep and is almost off,” the agency found that’s not the case. “In reality, most network-enabled devices draw as much power in this mode as when activated to perform their main tasks,” the agency explained.

“Just by using today’s best-available technology, such devices could perform exactly the same tasks in standby while consuming around 65 percent less power,” she added.

To put it in perspective, the agency said that more efficient technologies could save the equivalent of over 600 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, or closing the doors on 200 coal-fired power plants.