While we seem to have picked up more and more gadgets along the way, it goes without saying that all of these run on energy – and battery power is something that we ought to take a closer look at. In fact, the billions of networked electronic devices that are located globally consume a huge amount of energy – as well as wasting it. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that network-enabled devices in homes and offices worldwide consumed a whopping 616 terawatt-hours last year, where a whopping 65% of that (400 TWh) might have been avoided as wastage by using existing technology, which is enough to equal the energy output by 100 mid-sized coal power plants and all their emissions.
Most of the wasted energy is attributed to devices such as game consoles and TVs remaining idle in standby mode. Under that mode, they tend to use energy in order to maintain a network connection instead of actually “sleeping” and consuming just the bare minimum. Of course, newer networked appliances around the home like refrigerators are not exempt from this “crime”, either.
Is there a solution on the horizon? Perhaps, as generally speaking, the design and operation of communication protocols, networks, and software could be modified to improve energy efficiency, while power scaling solutions might also come in handy. It is more a matter of policy incentive to turn the whole situation around actually.