IEA Calls for Curbing Inefficiencies in Networked Devices

IEA2 July 2014: The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a report detailing the energetic and monetary losses associated with the use of 14 billion networked devices in 2013. 'More Data, Less Energy: Making Network Standby More Efficient in Billions of Connected Devices' finds that inefficient technology in these devices is responsible for wasting approximately US$80 billion. It suggests solutions and a path forward as demand for online electronic devices grows worldwide.

The report focuses on standby mode, which is often thought to be a more efficient state for electronic devices when they are not in use. In truth, devices often draw as much power in standby mode as they do when in use, mostly to maintain a connection and communicate with the network, according to the report. As a result, of the 616 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity consumed by networked devices in 2013, 400 TWh can be attributed to inefficient technology.

As noted by IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven, these inefficiencies not only cost consumers money and contribute to unnecessary greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also require more expensive power stations and more distribution infrastructure to be built. However, the report finds that using technology and technical solutions currently available could reduce the energy demand of these devices by 65%.

In reviewing policy options for curbing inefficiencies of networked devices, IEA urges global cooperation in implementing solutions and identifies key actors that would be integral to such an initiative, namely, policy makers, standards development organisations, software and hardware developers, designers, service providers and manufacturers.

The report was published jointly with the IEA Implementing Agreement for Energy Efficient End-Use Equipment (IEA 4E). [IEA Press Release] [IEA Publication Webpage] [Publication: More Data, Less Energy: Making Network Standby More Efficient in Billions of Connected Devices]