Consumer Electronics Account for 13% of U.S. Residential Energy Consumption

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
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Consumer Electronics Account for Small Share of Residential Energy Consumption

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® today released a new study, “Energy Consumption of CE in U.S. Homes in 2010,” showing that despite their popularity in American homes, consumer electronics (CE) account for a relatively small share – roughly 13 percent – of the average U.S. home’s electricity consumption.

There are nearly 2.9 billion CE devices in U.S. households and an average of 25 devices per household, including battery-operated CE devices. Home use of CE devices equaled 13.2 percent of overall residential electricity consumption and 9.3 percent of residential primary energy consumption. Within that 13.2 percent, televisions accounted for 34 percent, PCs 16 percent, and set-top boxes 13 percent.

For instance, the study estimated the installed base of televisions rose to 353 million in 2010 from 342 million in 2009, though unit energy consumption declined slightly (details on page 101 of the report) because of the shift from legacy cathode ray tube TVs to more efficient flat-panel TVs. The energy efficiency gains of this trend were detailed in a separate study earlier this year, “Power Consumption Trends in Digital TVs.”

“This landmark study provides a recent and comprehensive assessment of CE energy consumption, which is helpful to policy makers and others interested in efficiency trends,” said Douglas Johnson, CEA vice president of technology policy. “Energy efficiency improvements in consumer electronics are driven by innovation, competition and market-oriented programs such as ENERGY STAR.”

The study was commissioned by CEA and conducted by the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems to quantify the electricity consumption of CE products in U.S. households in 2010. Devices covered in depth in the study include: audio-visual equipment, audio video receivers, Blu-ray players, DVD players, televisions, video game consoles, set-top boxes (cable, satellite, telco and stand-alone), computers and peripherals, PCs, computer speakers, monitors, networking equipment and printers.

“Given the quick pace of change in our industry, it is important to have a comprehensive assessment from time to time,” Johnson added. “Too often we have seen unnecessary government mandates advanced on the basis of poor data and analysis. We hope this latest study is a welcome contribution to current and future policy and program discussions.”

The Fraunhofer report follows a study released by the Brattle Group last month that estimates U.S. energy consumption will drop five to 15 percent by 2020. According to the authors, economists Ahmad Faruqui and Doug Mitarotonda, the drop will occur due to an increase in ENERGY STAR appliances, less usage of incandescent light bulbs, incentives that encourage users not to consume as much energy during peak hours, and other programs that raise awareness of people’s energy consumption.