Thursday, May 14, 2009

Electronic Gadgets Proliferate, Threatening Energy Savings

If you have a utility bill from, say, 20 years ago, pull it out and look at your kWh usage. Then compare it to today's.

(Who has a utility bill from 20 years ago, you say? Ah, you underestimate our nation's pack rats.)

If your household is like most, your per capita electrical consumption has ballooned over the past 2 decades.

That pattern will continue, says a new report from the International Energy Agency. The reason: unabated growth in the number of cell phones, computers, PDAs, TVs and other electronic devices the average household buys.

By 2030, the IEA says, energy use by households for such devices could triple.

Which means no matter how much renewable energy we pump out, it will keep struggling to meet demand. To generate 3 times the current amount of electricity, we'll have to rely on fossil fuels.

But all is not lost, the IEA says. We can hold energy consumption at today's levels if we just get smarter about efficiency.

To do this, the IEA recommends that:
  • Governments consider these new devices when drawing up energy-efficiency legislation
  • Consumers make smarter choices about the appliances they buy.

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