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TVs, PCs, consoles - these are the biggest technology guzzlers in the home

Those who have not been reached by climate protection appeals may at least be worried about the additional payment to save electricity.

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TVs, PCs, consoles - these are the biggest technology guzzlers in the home

Those who have not been reached by climate protection appeals may at least be worried about the additional payment to save electricity. Many have long since checked the biggest consumers they know and now want to explore further savings potential: from computers to televisions to smartphones.

In order to be able to assess where and how energy can still be saved, it helps to get an overview of how much electricity is used for what on average. An average two-person household uses around 3050 kilowatt hours a year (equivalent to around 80 euros in electricity costs per month), explains the energy advice service of the consumer advice centres.

Consumer electronics, such as televisions and game consoles, account for 28 percent, i.e. a little more than a quarter of total electricity consumption. The Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) has collected this for the year 2021.

For comparison: According to this study, washing and drying consume 14 percent of the electricity, lights 13 percent and refrigerators and freezers 11 percent. Cooking and washing up follow with 9 and 8 percent respectively. Altogether 55 percent.

Of course, these are all just average values ​​that do not exactly reflect every household. After all, not everyone owns the same devices and uses them to the same extent.

In the consumer electronics category, however, there are also clear differences in consumption, as Joshua Jahn from the consumer advice center in Brandenburg knows: "The biggest power guzzlers are televisions and game consoles".

Operating an average television costs around 80 euros a year. Game consoles cost around 50 euros a year if you use them every day, says Jahn.

How much electricity a device consumes depends not only on its energy efficiency class, but often also simply on its size, explains Jahn: "A very large television with the best energy efficiency class still uses significantly more electricity than a smaller television in the worst class".

In fact, older televisions and those with a screen diagonal of more than one meter can consume an average of 200 kilowatt hours a year. According to the Federal Environment Agency, this could be used to operate two efficient refrigerators, for example.

Computers also show that size is relevant when it comes to power consumption. Because a desktop PC consumes significantly more power than a laptop, says Jahn. "A desktop PC with a tower costs me around 35 euros a year, a laptop just 10 euros."

The consumption of a computer is also decisively determined by its equipment, explains Sebastian Klöß from the IT industry association Bitkom: "A sophisticated gaming PC with a high-performance processor and a huge graphics card simply needs more power under full load than a standard PC or a notebook that trimmed to save electricity.”

The specific application on the computer also plays a role. According to Klöß, complex computer games and expensive video editing programs are so computationally intensive that they are also reflected in consumption.

The device that hardly affects the electricity bill is actually the smartphone. If you charge your phone every day, you use around 7.5 kilowatt hours a year, which would have cost around 2.80 euros a year to operate your smartphone at previous electricity prices, says Klöß.

Smart speakers, for example, would have just as little impact on the electricity bill. This clearly shows again: small device, small savings potential.

There is definitely potential for savings elsewhere. Switching off devices completely instead of leaving them in stand-by mode when not in use saves an average of 100 euros a year in a three-person household. This can be easily implemented with socket strips that have a toggle switch, says Joshua Jahn.

It's also worth turning off the router at night when not in use, or at least the WiFi. "A router like this doesn't have a high performance, but the fact that it runs 24 hours a day all year round easily costs 40 euros a year," explains Jahn. With many routers, switch-off times can be automated in the settings.

If you want to save electricity when streaming at home, you can do so by reducing the brightness and using smaller devices, explains Sebastian Klöß. Watching your favorite series on your laptop or smartphone instead of on the television definitely reduces electricity costs. And those who do without the high-contrast function (HDR) on newer televisions also reduce consumption.

But whether you stream in SD, HD or 4K resolution only affects consumption in the data centers, but not your own electricity bill, says Klöß. Those who reduce here are doing something good for the environment and reducing their CO₂ footprint.

When making new purchases, you should take a close look, advises Klöß: "When you buy a new device, the energy efficiency class is definitely worth a look - just to know what to expect during normal operation of the device". The energy efficiency label indicates the approximate annual consumption of a device.

Only recently have the various classes been reformed. "This A-Plus system was abandoned, instead most devices were downgraded to F or G to free up the front classes for new devices," explains Klöß.

According to Klöß, replacing your television with a device that is more energy-efficient because of the high electricity costs is only worthwhile if you still have an old plasma television.

By the way, if you want to know exactly what consumption is, you can borrow an electricity meter free of charge from the advice centers of the consumer advice centers and find out exactly how much electricity certain devices consume.

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