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PCs & gadgets becoming No.1 home power hog

Energy Saving Trust warns of surging costs

Technology enthusiasts' home electricity bills will go through the roof over the next few years unless they tackle a surge in the use of consumer electronics equipment in the home.

A report from the Energy Saving Trust says that in three years’ time, computers and other consumer electronics devices will use more electricity in the home than traditional power hogs such as the lighting, fridges and freezers.

And by 2020, hi-tech hardware and gadgets will account for 45 percent of all electricity used in people's homes – the equivalent to the output of 14 power stations - unless technology users take a smarter approach to power consumption.

Consumer electronics devices already cost Brits £130 per year, according to the report.

"Currently the annual UK spend on consumer electronics and home IT equipment has soared to over £12bn, making [us] the biggest spenders in Europe," said the report.

"New, more sophisticated and 'higher spec' versions of electronic gadgets tend to consume more electricity than the products they replace, unlike fridges and washing machines that are usually more efficient as they develop and evolve," the study says.

However, that’s not necessarily the case for desktop PCs and laptops. Many manufacturers of computers and computer components have been tackling the PC power burden for the past couple of years. Chip giants Intel and AMD, for example, have been very vocal about their efforts to increase the efficiency of the processors that power the bulk of desktop PCs and laptops.

The bigger problem could be that too many people are leaving gadgets and TVs switched on when not in use – using the standby button on a television instead of the 'off' switch, for example.

"Indeed, some products no longer have a manual 'off' switch, making it impossible for consumers to switch off the gadget, except at a wall socket," said the report.

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