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Game Smart to Save Energy and Help Protect the Environment

The latest game consoles bring together many exciting new features, such as voice control, gesture recognition, connectivity, wireless controllers, and the ability to stream live Internet content. But many people may not realize that most of these new features draw power even when not in use. With all features are maximized, today's game consoles can consume as much energy as all the homes in the city of Houston, or the equivalent of the electricity delivered by four power plants.

With just a few simple steps, you can game on with the newest innovative and intuitive features, and not waste energy.  Reduce your game console’s energy use, save money, and help protect the climate in the following ways:

  • Activate Power Saving Settings: Xbox One comes set-up to listen for the "Xbox On" command to turn on and allow other devices to access it via the network. By configuring the “Energy-saving" Power Mode, you can disable such features and drop the Xbox One's standby power use by 98 percent! The Play Station 4 (PS4), with software updates, enters a low power "Rest" mode after one hour of inactivity—you can reduce that time to save even more. Users can also enable time limits for USB power charging when the PS4 is in “Rest” mode. The Wii U’s power consumption is already optimized in all non-gaming modes, consuming less than half a watt when your console is standing by.
  • Turn off the Controllers: The PS4 includes a useful feature that allows the controllers to turn themselves off when not in use. You can choose to turn off your controllers automatically after 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or 60 minutes, depending on your gameplay habits.
  • Dis-Kinect When You Aren’t Using It: Xbox’s Kinect accessory can instantly recognize your body movements. This feature can use up to 14 watts when the game console is in use. So if you don’t use Kinect often, consider disconnecting it.
  • Keep Up on Your Updates: With Sony’s System Software version 2.0 update, the PS4 now powers down automatically and the USB ports enter a much lower power state once connected controllers are fully charged, dropping the power consumption by over 65 percent.
Image of energy efficient setup of an Xbox
  • Don't Let Your Game Console Come Between You and Your Cable.   For the best efficiency choice, plug your set-top box cable directly into the first HDMI port on your TV and connect the Xbox to a secondary HDMI port on your TV. Plugging your set-top box into your Xbox requires the Xbox to consume power even when you are not gaming-almost as much power as your TV.
  • One More Thing- Stream Smart: Streaming through a game console uses up to 10 times more energy than streaming on a laptop or tablet.  Consider using another kind of device to stream—like a Blu-ray player, set-top box, or smart TV that has earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR, all of which also use comparatively less energy.

Nineteen million latest generation PS4 and Xbox Ones were installed in 2014 and 2015.  If all gamers took these steps, we would see a significant nationwide energy savings—over 800 million kWh every year-- and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions from over 120,000 vehicles. Now, that’s powerful!

Please see more information on configuring today’s game consoles to use less energy.

Ask the Expert: Energy Efficient Video Streaming

About the Author: Verena Radulovic develops and manages various product specifications for the ENERGY STAR program, including televisions, displays and audio/video products.

Verena Radulovic