Gadgets drive up UK's energy use

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Gadgets drive up UK's energy use

Consumers say they're willing to pay more for energy-efficient products.

Warnings about the catastrophic consequences of global warming are finally prompting Britons to change their lifestyles when it comes to consumer electronics, according to a new survey.

The report 'The Rise of the Machines' from the Energy Savings Trust, predicts that energy used by consumer electronics will double in the next four years because our increasing wealth and falling prices will lead to UK households owning even more gadgets.

It predicts that energy consumption will double by 2010, by which time digital set-top boxes alone could cost UK households £780 million a year in electricity, or £30 for each household.

The EST said even now British households have an average of 2.4 televisions as well as a clutter of personal stereos, DVD recorders, portable media players and other power-hungry devices.

The report said large plasma TV screens consumed up to four times as much power as normal cathode ray tubes.

Electrical gadgets and gizmos left on standby or being charged already unnecessarily waste approximately £740m of energy, or £13 per person, in the UK each year.

But on the plus side, the organisation said people were becoming more aware of the environmental costs. For example it said people increasingly want to know how much energy a device will use.  

Paula Owen, head of information at EST, said the predicted jump in energy consumption was "largely due to the sheer volume of products available and the phenomenal growth in the market".

According to the EST, just over half of the 1,010 Britons surveyed said they were willing to pay a premium for products that benefited the environment, ahead of designer labels and even organic products.

"As the consumer electronics market continues to grow, further development of energy efficient products will be vital to help in the fight against clime change," EST chief executive Philip Sellwood said, calling for clear labelling.

The report also found that some 80 per cent of people said they tried to save energy on a day-to-day basis – with opting for public instead of personal transport one of most popular choices.
Copyright © 2010 Computer Active
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