back to article UK going to hell on hardware, eco group warns

Turn off your telly, shut down your PC and dim down those lights, because if you don't, by 2020, 45 per cent of the UK's electricity will be gobbled up to feed the nation's love of gadgets, according to a report from British NGO the Energy Saving Trust (EST). EST's delightfully titled report, The Ampere Strikes Back, warns …


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  1. Alexander Hanff

    Utter carp

    In the last 12 months I made a purchasing decision for our family home to replace CRT screens with LCDs. So far I have replaced 2x 21" CRT Monitors and a 32" CRT TV with LCD technology. Why did I do this? Because of the significant reduction in power requirements.

    My 2 19" LCD monitors use less power than 1 of the previous CRT monitors I used, in fact when the monitors are in standby they use less than 1W each and when in use they use only 70W each. Our 32" LCD TV uses only 120W (a massive reduction on the CRT TV which as I recall used over 300W).

    We also use energy efficient lighting in all rooms and downgraded our microwave from 850W to 750W.

    My new mobile phone only needs charging every 4-5 days compared to my previous mobile phone which needed charging every 2-3 days.

    We have an energy efficient Fridge Freezer and Washing Machine. We also dry all our clothes outside and do not own a tumble dryer. We wash up by hand and do not own a dishwasher. We also have a boiler which only heats water as we need it, as opposed to a large tank of hot water controlled by a thermostat.

    As a result our power consumption has decreased significantly in the past 12 months by upgrading our home appliances and entertainment systems to more modern, less power hungry equipment.

    This report is nothing more than a moral panic. The public should be encouraged to embrace new technology as in the majority of situations it is far more energy efficient. The energy saving from switching to LCD from CRT screens alone is of major significance.

    New technology replacing old is a good thing, I can't think of a single domestic appliance or entertainment equipment that has not been significantly improved over the past 20 years with regards to energy efficiency.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ok what idiots came up with this?

    Lets look at this. Combined gadgets such as the iPhone will save power. Bull****. So if I use the iPhone as an MP3 player for much of the day but take no calls, I then decide I don't want to listen to MP3's for another month. Hold on, I may want to make a call so best charge it up. Then I take a call and then want to watch a video, best charge it again. In fact it will use MORE as it has a bloody great screen to power, just to change tracks on the MP3 player.

    And what tit thinks that CRT's are better than flatscreens? Yes they are better than Plasmas, but not LCD. As LCD's are getting bigger and cheaper, plasmas will likely vanish by 2020.

    So that's that theory screwed.

    And as for "set top boxes" who's bloody fault is that? Hands up who said, yes please, please turn of the analogue signal and FORCE me to by a set top box for each TV (and upgrade my F***ing ariel !).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "We wash up by hand and do not own a dishwasher."

    Better use the dishwasher, man. Washing by hand uses up way too much soap and water.

    I also hear that the mean power consumption of LCDs and Plasma screens is comparable:,1518,436024-3,00.html

  4. dek

    If anyone was serious...

    ...then OpenSource would be a legal requirement on equipment manufacturers, at least when production of a device ceases. This would drastically reduce amount of technology being dumped purely because it doesn't have that extra feature and/or becomes unsupported. Back to reality, we know that will never happen but until it does (along with a whole host of more practical measures, eg, more teleconferencing, more telecommuting) I for one won't take climate change and the lip service paid to it by governments and organisations any more seriously than I take the threat of a killer asteroid.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If this country and all others just starting producing nice green renewable energy this won't be a problem

  6. Steve Barnes

    Re: Morons!

    "And as for "set top boxes" who's bloody fault is that? Hands up who said, yes please, please turn of the analogue signal and FORCE me to by a set top box for each TV (and upgrade my F***ing ariel !)."

    LOL! Amen to that!

    These studies are usually by absolute idiots who don't have a clue. People already know whether or not they're "doing their bit." I recycle all my cans, paper, plastics, etc. I don't keep things on standby, i don't leave things on when they're not needed. But I'll be damned if I'm gonna start going, "Oh man, my phone's dead, better char... oh wait, need to save energy, wont charge it, will just drive 50 miles home to let friends know i'm safe.."

    And "Man, this 48 hour week has been a long one, I really need to wind down. I know, I'll get Resi 4 out and have a blas... Oh wait, saving energy, better sell my PS2, and go get a skipping rope instead.."

  7. Gavin Lightfoot

    dim down those lights?

    ...sadly no longer an option since replacing all those incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents at the behest of, er, the enivron-mentalists.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Wash up by hand

    Now there's a sin against water instead of electricity since washing by hand is inherently more wasteful in water than using a good dishwasher - not counting the lighting you use to see what you're doing instead of just programming a wash for 3-to-6 a.m., shutting off the lights and sauntering off to watch the TV like every civilized being should.

    As for multi-function thingamajigs, it's sheer bollocks to think that such devices will save energy. It seems plain common sense to have a single-function device to turn on when needed and turn off when done with it.

    I wonder what the so-called "eco" group would have said to a multi-function TV, DVD/MP3 player/radio - where you would have to turn on the TV set to listen to the radio ! Any fool can see that it is much better to have an MP3 player, a DVD player, a TV set and a radio - and not let any of the bloody things go to sleep mode. OFF is the proper mode for things that are not in use, and OFF means 0 watts drawn from the mains.

    As for set-top boxes that do phone, internet and TV, please don't get me started on what a waste that is !

  9. Chris

    Waste of energy

    Don't bother reading it - all whinge, pseudoscience and hot air.

    Perhaps they should direct their concern to the millions of homes in this country that are heated by electricity (a shocking use of 'high grade' energy) rather than a few watts here & there consumed by unloaded power supplies.

  10. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    What rubbish !

    If you look at the actual loads typically installed, the small electronics don't get a look in. OK, so the TV might be on for several hours a night, but it's (at most) a couple of hundred watts. The kettle is likely 2 or 3 kW, the oven may be 6kW, and the hob a few more kW.

    Now just look outside the window, what do we see ? Loads of street lamps lit all night every night - I'm sure our lighting standards are waay too high and wasting huge amount of electrickery to run it.

    Set top boxes ? We'll they'll be decreasing in a few years as people buy TVs with integrated digital receivers. Of course, if the government weren't so completely incompetent then we'd mostly have integrated digital already - but did the government think to mandate digital tuners ? Of course not !

    Lastly, when will 'low energy' light bulbs be banned ? They do not save energy most of the time and take a lot of it to produce. OK, at this time of year the heating is off, but during winter when the lights are on the most, any energy you save on the light bulbs is simply made up for by the heating !

  11. Bob Jones

    Its sad that the US has OTA HD for years

    Another way for Big Government to control the people ... now we can't protest without being a terrorist and we can't take about immigration without being a racist, political correctness, anti-terror and now global warming - they control everything we do.

    Everything we do is likely to be either politically incorrect, illegal under the terrorism acts or bad for the enviroment ... so now they'll outlaw it all until we are nothing but slaves to MPs and the EU.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I am getting sick and tired of all this ill-informed rhetoric about lights, TV's on standby etc. It appears to be coming from those who do not know what a watt is, let alone how to measure power.

    I looked at the TV market recently, and found that on average a large screen LCD TV consumes around 70W, but only 3W on standby, a far cry from 25% the so called experts keep quoting, but I doubt that those who make such statements understand what 25% is.

    Sky Boxes are an exception, and maybe it is time for our lords and masters to take action to prevent Sky from requiring us to leave them on all the time.

    Lights, house lighting can use a lot less, but so can street lighting. In Essex, a couple of local councils are planning to turn SOME street lights off at around 1am - the whining can be heard in Westminster.

    I have a Cat A fridge and a similar freezer, but shops still sell F & G rated units. The same applies to other white goods.

    And finally, has anybody calculated the amount of power consumed by all those lights, kettles etc in Whitehall.


    BTW, how much power do all the speed cameras use sitting primed to catch the odd innocent transgressor

  13. Alex D


    Thats a Nakamichi remote in his hand, but there is no Nakamichi hifi... get the graphics right... :-)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So they're saying that if we use stuff, then the stuff we use will consume most of the power we use? No sh*t! That's why we have the stuff - to USE IT! See how that works? Buy stuff that uses power, and use it, because we like what it does?


    This like saying, "If people keep driving cars, most gasoline will be used by cars!"

    ... Yeah, so?...

  15. JB

    Green = Expensive

    It's all very well preaching to us to go green by using more energy-efficient appliances, but they're so damned expensive. Recently, our fridge-freezer gave up the ghost, so i found myself in the store looking for a new one. We're on a rather limited budget, so couldn't afford £500+ on A-rated gear - the best we could afford was a C-rated fridge that would look good in a doll's house. Energy-saving lighbulbs are also dear, though they do last for years, i suppose (perhaps they should do that for batteries - it's criminal the number of batteries we throw away into landfill).

    I could go on and on, but won't.

    But, one last thing...with the EU (and even California) considering a ban on incandescent lightbulbs, when will the manufacturers come up with a low-energy bulb that doesn't make the room feel like a morgue and doesn't stick out of the top of your lampshade? :)

  16. A J Stiles

    What about

    What about gas boilers with permanent pilot lights? In 48 hours, the pilot burner can consume enough gas to cook a Sunday roast!

    It is actually less expensive to build a gas boiler with electronic ignition than a permanent pilot burner: the gas valve is much simpler (2 mains solenoids, no thermocouple solenoid). But greedy appliance manufacturers preferred to charge you more for the privilege of spending less.

    And don't even get me started on how wasteful gravity-fed hot water circuits are compared to fully-pumped systems .....

  17. AndreasZ

    The Good News

    The subject is in the news. More people doing more research means the quality of the information improves. More customers voting with their wallets, means manufacturers are forced to engineer around energy consumption rather then perhaps less important factors.

    CRT vs. most new tech. Pilot burners vs. ignition. Hot water tanks vs.demand-led systems. Radiators vs, underfloor heating. A rated white goods vs. C....the more consumers become informed, the more conomic forces favour them getting what they(and the environemnt) wants.

    The most important thing is when given options, if within ones economical spectrum choose the leanest, greenest product.

    Green is the new black, and this alone will mean that sustainable/environmental products will stop compromising the consumers experience/functionality/service/coolness

    Be part of the solution...and have fun doing so


  18. Phil


    The council installed two huge electronic sign boards on the A46, either side of Stratford on Avon. I have only ever seen 2 messages on them a) "Use the Park and Ride" b) "Not in use".

    And how much electricity does it take to keep the lights on all night in our local supermarket?

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