Intelligent Energy

Watchdog: Gadgets must get 'smart' by going green

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An industry watchdog called Smart-Electronics Initiative wants to stem consumer electronics energy consumption.

Our homes are becoming testaments to technological innovation, but our gadgets are greedily drawing a higher share of energy. That does not sit well with one watchdog group called Smart-Electronics Initiative, which is working toward a solution through advocacy and education.

The Smart-Electronics Initiative is calling for the development of new national standards that will clearly label levels of energy efficiency in consumer electronics to help consumers make "greener" decisions. It is seeking to lobby for changes to state and federal policy in the United States to address the issue.

My ZDNET co-blogger Heather Clancy covered this topic earlier today, and found that gadgets – such as home theaters and stereos – now account for roughly 15 percent of home energy use. Its share of household consumption will steadily increase until it triples by 2030, according to the Smart-Electronics Initiative.

That is no small wonder considering how consumer behavior has changed: most people read hardcover books and hung calendars on their walls just a few years ago. Smartphones and e-readers now rule the day.

The group says that gadgets will consume 1,700 terawatt hours of energy in 2030 – unless something is done about it (another of the group's priorities is publicize the problem). Its claxon-call is being made to consumers, industry and governments alike.

Smart-Electronics Initiative also believes that energy efficiency in consumer electronics can improve through industry cooperation and greater innovation in technology. For example, it wants to broaden the use of lighting emitting diodes (LEDs), and power factor correction.

It intends to publicize the power consumption potential of gadgets, and will study the impact of its efforts on the environment and economy. ZDNET reports that the group is backed by semiconductors giant Marvell and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

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David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure