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Green Your Video Games

Game controller

Did you know that some home gaming systems can add up to $13 to your monthly electricity bill? Game over!

Surprisingly, game consoles use nearly as much power when left in idle mode as when actively being played. More than 40 percent of homes have video game systems, and many of those are left on all the time.

So what can you do to make sure your video game system isn't driving up your electricity bill? Here are a few tips:

  1. Turn it off when not in use. An Xbox or a PlayStation 3 left on all day, every day, uses about $12 worth of energy each month.
  2. Buy a Wii. It uses much less energy – 16 watts compared to 119 watts for the Xbox and 150 watts for the PlayStation (source: NRDC).
    Chart showing annual energy use and costs for popular gaming systems
  3. Use the power saver mode. If you have a PlayStation or Xbox, you can save energy by selecting the auto power-down option in your system preferences.
  4. Don't watch movies on your game system. Watching a Blu-Ray movie on the PlayStation 3 uses five times more power than watching it on a standard Blu-Ray player.

And one last note: if your system breaks down and can’t be fixed, do not throw it away. Many video game systems contain toxic chemicals, such as beryllium, bromine and phthalates. Take it to your local recycling center, or a local video game store (they may need the used parts).