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Brits lose £1.3 billion a year by leaving TVs and gadgets on standby

Brits leaving TVs, computers, routers and other gadgets plugged in and switched on at the mains is costing us £1.3 billion a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust, Defra and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

A new report published today titled Powering the Nation plots the nation’s energy gobbling habits and identifies areas where we can make savings. TVs and AV equipment are, perhaps unsurprisingly, fingered the worst culprits.

The UK watches more than six hours of TV a day on average, which costs us an extra £205 million a year across the UK.

Homes with a Plasma screen can also expect to pay around £95 a year to run their telly panel. LCD flatscreens consume much less power than their Plasma equivalents, with an average annual cost of £29 a year. The older style CRT sets, though bulky, cost even less to run – just £17 a year.

The amassing army of living room gadgets also helps to drive up energy use with AV receivers topping the list of energy gobblers (£149 a year to run), followed by TV, DVD and set-top-box combos (£67 a year to run) and set-top boxes (between £17 and £21 a year to run).

Plasma TVs cost £95 a year to run, LCDs just £29 a year

Switching things off at the wall hen they’re not needed can significantly drive down our outgoing energy costs. Environment minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said in a statement that: “We can all do simple things like switching off our TVs, computers and other home electronics when we’re not using them and save up to £85 on electricity bills each year,” after saying “Manufacturers need to develop more energy-efficient electrical products and help consumers save money and the environment.”

Perhaps Lord Taylor should take a look at EON’s Smart Plus Monitor which launches in the UK this week.

One problem is that set-top boxes the Sky+ HD‘s and Virgin Media TiVo‘s of the world need to be on standby for any remote recording or programme upgrade functions to work. The same goes for gamers; if you’re waiting for updates to download, chances are you’re going to want to keep your Xbox 360 on standby. Wireless routers, to which a multitude of home devices are connected, are also likely to be left on at all times.

The same report showed that the PlayStation 3 was the most energy-hungry of the current gen of consoles, costing £9 a year to run. The Xbox 360 came in second at £8, with the humble Wii needing just £6 a year to run.

Desktop computers cost £24 a year to run, with laptops requiring considerably much less juice (£4 a year).

Printers and faxes (people still use faxes?!) cost a meaty £23 a year to run, with things like additional monitors costing £6 a year to run on average, routers £8 a year to run and modems £9 a year.

The full report, which breaks down the energy uses of other household items, can be read here. A trouser press apparently costs £1.70 a year to run. Alan Partridge will be happy to know.

The report also shows that domestic energy use in the UK accounts for over a quarter of the total CO2 emissions of the country. The UK Government’s plans are to see a 34 per cent drop in emissions by 2020, 50 per cent by the middle of that decade and an 80 per cent drop by 2050.

Image credit: Flickr user Sheffield Tiger

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