News Brief

Game On for New Product Efficiency Standards in California

New regulations could make gaming consoles and other products sold in California more efficient.

Approximately 12 million game consoles consume roughly 1,400 GWh in California annually, according to the NRDC. New efficiency standards could save gamers $75 million annually on energy bills.

Photo: KoS. License: CC BY 2.0.
Gaming consoles like the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii may soon have to meet new efficiency standards to be sold in California—which represents an eighth of all U.S. consumers and often sets standards that are adopted nationwide.

The California Energy Commission is considering establishing new statewide standards after finding that more-efficient video game consoles alone could save Californians $75 million annually on energy bills. If 14 other products—including computers, toilets, and hot tubs—are also held to higher standards, cumulative savings could reach $1.2 billion, conserve as much water as San Diego uses in an entire year, and bypass the need to build three medium-sized, 500 MW power plants,

according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Some of these products, including video game consoles, are not currently held to any efficiency standards. Network equipment such as broadband modems and wireless routers consume approximately 100 kWh annually, usually drawing the same amount of power when at rest as when in use. Video game consoles have become more efficient than the first-generation 200-watt models, but secondary uses such as streaming video still requires 60 watts, while comparatively, an Apple TV needs just one.

Since even large manufacturers can’t afford to ignore California’s market base, new state standards could raise the bar for products distributed nationally or globally, or set the stage for new federal standards. The California Energy Commission is currently in the process of gathering market data and standard proposals, but new standards could come into effect as early as 2015.

Published September 30, 2013

Pearson, C. (2013, September 30). Game On for New Product Efficiency Standards in California. Retrieved from

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