New Technology Blamed For Its Energy Consumption

from the the-green-tube dept

Environmental activists have increasingly been pointing fingers at the tech sector due to the amount of energy that gets consumed in the construction and use of various devices. When it comes to corporate IT, however, this concern seems rather misplaced, since the adoption of technology is typically done with an eye towards increasing efficiency. Rather than there being a conflict between the environment and new technology, new technology is a boon to efforts at reducing energy consumption. A new report out of the UK implicates consumer electronics for their energy use, noting that new high definition TVs, for example, consume more electricity than old tube-based sets. That may be true, but consider the various unseen cost savings. Old TVs weren’t a substitute for driving to the theater or the video store. It’s also hard to imagine that the production of a “clunky” old TV was a particularly clean process given the various raw materials involved. Almost all new consumer electronics are a replacement for something that was more wasteful (MP3s vs. CDs). Fortunately, the author of the study isn’t calling for anything too drastic, though she does encourage consumers to at least turn off their devices when not in use. Whatever your view on the question is, that sounds like good advice.

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Comments on “New Technology Blamed For Its Energy Consumption”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

getting the government out of business will not be great. while its hit or miss with each regulation/law on how well the government regulates things, it does do a significant amount to protect consumers (there are many regulations, quality assurance, and what not in place because of the government. false advertising is a good example). Plus cheaper isn’t always best for the consumer OR the environment OR EVEN efficiency. Cheap != efficient and unfortunately big companies prioritize cheap over efficient A LOT of the time.

and who is “we” referring to anyway in your first statement?

and i have no clue what your point is about “we cause the demand for more power and we do demand it.” what does that mean? what are you trying to say?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

the problem is the need for how quickly the servers need to be cooled. there’s no practical system that could keep them at a constant cool temperature. nothing can transfer the heat away quickly enough other than just putting something really cold (whether it be air or some other material) on it.

that guy says:

Re: Re: Re:

“the problem is the need for how quickly the servers need to be cooled. there’s no practical system that could keep them at a constant cool temperature. nothing can transfer the heat away quickly enough other than just putting something really cold (whether it be air or some other material) on it.”

Yeah, then you take that working fluid (water, air, refrigerant), and instead of dumping the heat outside as traditional A/C units do, dump that heat inside during the winter.

Without some regulation businesses will usually pick the cheapest alternative. Do you think _any_ industry would impose emission standards on themselves? They wouldn’t, and they didn’t in the past. They just built the smoke stacks high enough that your neighborhood didn’t get sprayed with soot.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Until some company decides to offer to build a device or A/C that allows the working fluid (which isn’t actually always hot after its used) to be re-used, I don’t expect a company to all of the sudden become engineers and devise a way to bring the heat created by the AC (which isn’t always there). Chemical Reactions can absorb heat (hence they feel cold). Temperature isn’t always a zero-sum game. If something goes up 5 degrees, it does not mean something else went down 5 degrees. Energy is lost in several forms.

Haywood says:

I've noticed PC power supplys keep getting bigger

100-250 watt power supplies at one time were the norm, now 500w may not get it. I notice the heat coming out of the case more now as well. No one forced me to build a dual SLI gaming rig, and I wouldn’t want to go back. More powerful electronics draw more power, duh, but most of us wouldn’t want to go back to the old stuff.

Mark says:

Liquid-cooled turbo-charged PCs. Technology is coming that will draw much less energy (magnetic/bubble memory, light based circuits, solid-state “drives”) but like anything else it isn’t here quite yet.

If HDTVs and other devices use so much energy, why is it several can be used on a single 15A circuit? The old RCA TV from my youth would sometimes pop the breaker just turning it on. Anyone remember the clunk from those old power supplies as the caps charged?

Chronno S. Trigger says:

This issue hits close to home.

I just moved into my own apartment. I have to pay the electric bill. Since I run a server 24/7 I would have it no other way. With the server, 32″ HD LCD TV, Xbox, 360, GQ, Wii, PS2, ext… they combined use less than 10KW/h. Turning on the AC (not even that high) kicks it up to 50+. Now I’m no electrician nor do I really understand exactly what a KW is but I know that it costs me $100/m with the AC on. So all you Greenpeace people out there, I’m sweating my ass off just to save power. Be happy. (and I moved 20min closer to work to save gas.)

I do remember hearing my TV turn on before I got the LCD.

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