Opinion: Gadgets aren't a green issue

Columns & Opinion, Energy systems, Gadgets

Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes…

I’m green – but not in the way all those leftie liberals out there would like me to be. I’m green because I feel sick, sick because some nutters now think my Sony Bravia is responsible for global warming. Do I really need to apologise to the people of South Yorkshire for the damage my TV has done to their flooded homes? Water load of bilge!

It all stems from a study by the Energy Saving Trust that’s come out today claiming that by 2020, gadgets and gizmos will account for about 45% of electricity used in UK households. And they say it’d take the juice of 14 power stations to ensure there’s enough current to keep us in the techno-heaven we’ve become accustomed too.

Well, bring it on I say – get those building plans on the table now, there’s plenty of green land still out there that’d benefit from being dominated by a few of those large chimneys.

I jest of course. Well only a little, but to say my flatscreen TV, digital radio, PC, laptop, MP3, digital camera, stereo, video camera, DECT phones, bedroom telly, office portable, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, fan, printer, shredder and mains-powered cuddly toy are responsible for a surge in leccy usage is absurd.

After all, I make sure to switch my lights off when I leave a room and I’ve taken to putting the TVs on standby overnight rather than leaving them running so I save switching them on again each morning.

The EST reckon Brits spend £12bn a year on electronics but claim much of it is actually less efficient than older technology. Well, course it is, older technology usually consisted of something that needed to be wound up to work (a bit like me right now) rather than plugged in at the mains.

Paula Owen’s report called The Ampere Strikes Back (I’ll give her bonus points for a cool document name) says household appliances consume about a third of an average home’s electricity.

According to a report on bbc.co.uk, she said: “Your old-fashioned, bulky cathode ray tube TV on average consumed about 100 watts of electricity when it was switched on. What we are seeing now is a trend for much bigger flat-screened TVs. On average, we are seeing a three-fold increase in the energy needed to power these TVs.”

Yes, but you couldn’t hang one of those fat sets on the wall could you – they just didn’t look as good. Surely a women can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of a Bravia hanging above the fireplace.

She added: “In pretty much every other sector, we find that as the technology moves on, the products get more and more efficient. Consumer electronics does not work like that.”

The report does hail mobile phones as one technology where charging efficiency has improved with the wattage drawn from them when still plugged in but no phone connected falling below one watt.

But it’s a veiled compliment because with 63 million handsets being used in the UK, the report says that is still a huge amount of energy wasted if people are not unplugging chargers when they are not being used.

No kidding! But I’d like to know how much energy was wasted producing this pointless report, probably printing it out far too many times than are needed and draining energy via computers to email it around.

I don’t disagree with switching things off when not using them, it makes perfect sense. The money I then save on my electric bill can than go towards buying some snazzy new gadgets.

But as for aiming such stupidity at my telly, what a ridiculous and extremely cheap shot.

I for one blame the BBC for global warming. If there were less repeats on telly, there wouldn’t be so much to watch in the first place and therefore I wouldn’t need to have it on as much!

Jonathan Weinberg
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  • What a well thought out, balanced article! I’ll second Phil on this one. I particularly like…

    “Surely a women can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of a Bravia hanging above the fireplace.”

    I sense a flood of abuse heading your way Mr Weinberg! 🙂

  • Those ‘nutters’ would be the people who have looked at the figures, costed the useage and done some analysis based on evidence…

    …. As opposed to say one bloke who wants to have a large tv.

  • Is that your informed opinion, Phil. Perhaps you should’ve used a bit MORE energy to state your case. Heh.

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