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Inspector Gadget: Are Electronic Gizmos Power Vampires?

Published on May 14, 2009
by Ana Campoy

Cell phones and laptops may seem like pretty minor offenders when it comes to energy guzzling. But as they become ubiquitous all over the planet, their growing power consumption is emerging as a major source of concern for those trying to conserve energy and stop global warming.

Communication gadgets and other consumer electronics burn up 15 percent of all the electricity consumed in households around the world, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. If the use of electronics continues to spread at the current pace, their energy draw could double by 2022 and triple by 2030. At that point, they would absorb as much electricity as all houses in the U.S. and Japan today.

But are electric gadgets vampires or saviors? Telecommuters who would otherwise burn gasoline to get to work, or drivers who get to their destination quicker by using a GPS device are actually saving energy, argues the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

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