Building Energy Technology: Energy Consumption of Consumer Electronics

Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems

Home entertainment setup. Image by Michal Zacharzewski / sxc.hu

Project Motivation

The usage characteristics of consumer electronics typically change very quickly due to short product cycles and lifetimes, evolving usage patterns and dynamics, and rapid technology adoption that can strongly influence device power draw. As a result, the energy consumption characteristics of an installed base can change dramatically in a few years.

 

To help energy policymakers make accurate, informed decisions about voluntary or mandatory regulatory programs, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) contracted Fraunhofer CSE to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of energy consumption for US residential consumer electronics in 2010 and 2013.  

 

Characterizing Energy Consumption

Using a bottom-up approach, we characterized the energy consumption of 17 types of consumer electronics, and developed preliminary estimates for 29 additional products. In each case, we used a range of sources to develop estimates for the installed base and average power draw and annual usage by mode. Devices evaluated in more depth included computers, monitors, network equipment, set-top boxes, televisions, and video game consoles.

 

We found that approximately 3.8 billion residential consumer electronics consumed 169 TWh in 2013 - an amount equal to 12 percent of total residential electricity consumption in the US. This estimate is about 12 percent lower than our estimate for residential CE energy consumption in 2010. Three product categories, televisions, computers, and set-top boxes, accounted for over 60 percent of the total energy consumed.