Conference PaperPDF Available

Residential Consumer Electronics Energy Consumption in the United States in 2017

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

The ownership and usage patterns of consumer electronics continue to evolve rapidly, spurring the need for updated device-level energy use estimates. This report summarizes the preliminary findings of a comprehensive energy analysis of consumer electronics in U.S. homes for 2017. Twelve device categories were studied in depth. Using a bottom-up approach, we drew upon energy consumption studies, public measurement databases, power measurements, and manufacturer product specifications. To improve usage and ownership estimates for televisions, computers, monitors, and video game consoles, we fielded three U.S. telephone surveys. Based on the analysis, about 3.5 billion devices in 119 million homes consumed 148 TWh.
Content may be subject to copyright.
594
Residential Consumer Electronics Energy Consumption in the
United States in 2017
Bryan Urban, Kurt Roth, Mahendra Singh, and Duncan Howes
Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems
Abstract
The ownership and usage patterns of consumer electronics continue to evolve rapidly, spurring the
need for updated device-level energy use estimates. This report summarizes the preliminary findings
of a comprehensive energy analysis of consumer electronics in U.S. homes for 2017. Twelve device
categories were studied in depth. Using a bottom-up approach, we drew upon energy consumption
studies, public measurement databases, power measurements, and manufacturer product
specifications. To improve usage and ownership estimates for televisions, computers, monitors, and
video game consoles, we fielded three U.S. telephone surveys. Based on the analysis, about 3.5
billion devices in 119 million homes consumed 148 TWh.
Introduction
Consumer electronics are among the most dynamic energy end-uses in buildings. Relative to other
end-uses, their characteristics typically change quickly due to product innovation, short product cycles
and lifetimes, evolving usage patterns, and rapid technology adoption that can strongly influence
device power draw [1-6]. Consequently, device characteristics have again changed appreciably since
the last comprehensive evaluation (for the year 2013 [1]). Such rapid changes make it essential to
routinely develop up-to-date and accurate energy assessments. If obsolete data are used to inform
energy policymaking, for instance, the resulting programs could be less likely to achieve their end
goals. Consequently, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) commissioned Fraunhofer to
perform this study
213
to provide current, high-quality data to inform CE policy decisions.
Methodology
Calculation Methodology for Unit and Annual Energy Consumption
We used the bottom-up approach shown in Figure 1 to evaluate the Annual Energy Consumption
(AEC, in TWh or billion kWh) for most device categories. For a device category, AEC is equal to the
product of its Installed Base (IB, millions of units) and its average Unit Energy Consumption (UEC,
kWh/yr). The Installed Base represents the total number of devices in a category that were plugged in
at least once during the previous month. Unit Energy Consumption represents the average annual
energy consumption of a single device. We developed UEC estimates for each power mode based on
the product of the Power Draw (W) and the Usage or average time spent per year in that mode
(hours). The sum of the UEC over all modes equals the total device UEC. Prior studies describe this
methodology in further detail [1-6].
213
Results presented in this report are preliminary. We expect any changes will be minor and will not affect the conclusions
presented. For final values and more detail, see the final report [1].
595
Figure 1: Calculation methodology example for device and total annual energy consumption.
Installed Base
For each product category, we defined the installed base as the total number of devices in U.S. homes
that were plugged in sometime during the last month. This definition intentionally excludes devices that
are owned but out of use, e.g., in storage. As a result, our installed base estimates may be lower than
ownership values reported in other studies. Most installed base estimates came from market research
(notably [7-8]), the CE Usage Survey (described below), and, to a lesser extent, sales data. To ensure
that the CE Usage Survey questions about ownership did not capture devices in storage, we explicitly
asked about devices that were plugged in during the previous month. Typically, the installed base
estimates have the least uncertainty of any AEC component.
Power Draw by Mode
All consumer electronics have at least two basic operating modes (on and off), and many have others
such as idle, standby, sleep, or charging. Power draw can also vary appreciably within a mode
depending on actual usage, as with computer processor utilization scaling or brightness adjustments
for displays. For each product category, we identified the most relevant power modes and developed
estimates for the average or typical power draw (by mode) for the current installed base.
Ideally, power draw estimates would be derived using recent measurements of devices from a large
sample (hundreds or more) of demographically representative U.S. households. Unfortunately, the
cost and effort required to perform such a study was beyond the scope of this project. Instead, we
relied on several sources to estimate power draw by mode, including:
Energy consumption characterization studies
ENERGY STAR and California Energy Commission measurement databases
Voluntary agreements for set-top boxes (STBs) and small-network equipment (SNE)
Manufacturer product specifications
Measurements by CTA member companies
Targeted power measurements performed by Fraunhofer
We consulted multiple sources for most product categories to increase confidence in power estimates.
Further detail on how we developed power estimates for specific categories can be found in [1].
x
ACTIVE
SLEEP
OFF
=
x
x
UEC
IB AEC
=
ANNUAL
USAGE
(hours)
Tactiv
e
Tsleep
Toff
MODE
Pactiv
Psleep
Poff
POWER
DRAW
(W)
UECactiv
e
UECsleep
UECoff
UNIT ENERGY
CONSUMPTION
(kWh/yr)
Σ
DEVICE
UEC
(kWh/yr)
ANNUAL ENERGY
CONSUMPTION
(TWh)
=
=
=
INSTALLED
BASE
(millions)
596
Usage by Mode
Usage by mode is the most challenging aspect of UEC to quantify. For some products, we used field
monitoring data to evaluate usage patterns, though few include large, random samples. To better
characterize usage, we organized three phone surveys, each of 1,000 demographically representative
U.S. households (henceforth referred to as the CE Usage Survey; more details in [1]). Respondents
described the devices installed in their home and how they were used. Survey questions were
developed by Fraunhofer in consultation with the CTA Market Research Team. Subsequently, we
used category-specific models to estimate installed base and usage. The surveys focused on product
categories with the highest energy consumption and/or greatest usage uncertainty (see Table 1), and
were fielded in the spring of 2017 (see [1] for details).
Categories Selected for In-Depth Study
To make efficient use of project resources, we selected twelve priority categories where a more
refined analysis would provide the greatest value (see Table 1). The selections, made in close
consultation with CTA, were based on a preliminary AEC assessment of a larger list, favoring
categories with higher AEC and higher uncertainty. We used these preliminary AEC estimates to
characterize the products not selected for in-depth analysis. Fortunately, since relatively few
categories account for the vast majority of all CE energy consumption, this approach has a minor
effect on the accuracy of the total residential AEC.
Findings
We estimate that about 3.5 billion consumer electronic devices in 119 million homes [7] consumed 148
TWh of electricity in 2017, representing 11% of all U.S. residential electricity consumption.
214
Table 1: Estimates of installed base, unit energy consumption (UEC), and
annual energy consumption (AEC) for device categories studied in depth.
DEVICE
UNITS
(millions)
UEC
(kWh/yr)
AEC
(TWh)
% Total
AEC
Television*
284
118
34
23%
Set-Top Box: Non-DVR
113
110
12
8%
Set-Top Box: DVR
54
188
10
7%
Set-Top Box: Thin Client
33
52
1.7
1%
Set-Top Box: DTA Adapter
31
46
1.4
1%
Sound Bar*
20
66
1.3
1%
Video Game Console*
105
79
8.3
6%
Desktop Computer*
72
258
18
12%
Portable Computer*
122
51
7.9
5%
Computer Monitor
101
73
7.3
5%
Integrated Access Device
98
89
8.8
6%
Routers
53
56
3.0
2%
Broadband Modem
23
55
1.2
1%
Other Devices
2,360
14
33
22%
Total/Avg.
3,469
43
148
100%
* included in CE Usage Survey
214
Based on residential site electricity consumption of 4.8 quadrillion Btu or 1400 TWh in 2017 [9].
597
Figure 2: Estimates for installed base, unit energy consumption, and
annual energy consumption for device categories studied in depth.
Three product categories, televisions, computers (including monitors and computer speakers), and
set-top boxes
215
together accounted for about 60% of consumer electronics electricity consumption.
Device-level results for Installed Base (IB), Unit Energy Consumption (UEC), and Annual Energy
Consumption (AEC) are summarized in Table 1 and Figure 2.
Though the devices we studied in-depth represent about one third of all installed consumer
electronics, they comprise nearly 80% of the total annual energy consumption. Average usage and
power draw by mode estimates are shown in Table 2 for the categories evaluated in depth. The UEC
breakdown by mode is shown in Figure 3. For more details about specific modes of device categories,
see [1].
Residential consumer electronics electricity consumption was about 11% lower in 2016 than in 2013
[1]. The following sections describe key changes within three top device categories televisions,
computers, and set-top boxes that led to this decline.
Table 2: Usage and power draw by mode for device categories studied in more detail.
POWER DRAW (W)
USAGE (h/day)
DEVICE
ACT
IDLE
SLEEP
OFF
ACT
IDLE
SLEEP
OFF
Television
74
-
-
0.9
3.9
-
-
20.1
STB: Non-DVR
22
-
-
20
11.7
-
-
12.3
STB: DVR
13
-
-
12
11.7
-
-
12.3
STB: Thin Client
7
-
-
6
11.7
-
-
12.3
STB: DTA Adapter
5
-
-
5
24.0
-
-
-
Sound Bar
14
9
-
5.0
4.4
5.7
-
13.9
Video Game
56
52
-
3.2
1.5
0.6
-
21.9
Desktop Computer
85
59
2.7
1.2
4.6
4.8
7.1
7.5
Portable Computer
22
11
0.7
0.3
3.7
3.0
7.7
9.5
Computer Monitor
30
-
0.8
0.5
5.5
-
9.8
8.8
Integrated Modem
11
-
-
1.5
21.4
-
-
2.6
Router
7
-
-
1.0
21.4
-
-
2.6
Broadband Modem
7
-
-
0.1
21.4
-
-
2.6
Note: Power values for STBs calculated based on modeled UEC values and assumption of 24/7 operation.
215
Including standalone DVRs, streaming media players, and over-the-air DTA adapters, not shown here.
0100 200 300
Television
Non-DVR STB
DVR STB
Thin Client STB
DTA Adapter STB
Soundbar
Video Game
Desktop Computer
Portable Computer
Computer Monitor
Integrated Modem
Router
Broadband Modem
Installed Base (millions)
0100 200 300
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
UEC (kWh/yr)
020 40
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
AEC (TWh)
598
Figure 3: Unit electricity consumption (total and percentage) for categories evaluated in depth.
Televisions
Since at least 2006, televisions have been the largest fraction of overall consumer electronics energy
use [1]. Today that fraction is nearly one quarter. From 2013 to 2017, the number of installed TVs fell
by about 17 million units (5%), continuing the trend since 2009. At the same time, average power
draw, and therefore unit energy consumption has also declined, primarily as older CRT TVs have
apparently been retired and replaced by newer, more efficient displays. Plasma displays have also
ceased to be manufactured for U.S. markets in recent years, and virtually all display sold today are
LCDs. As a result, the annual energy consumption of televisions has approximately halved since 2010.
This sharp declining trend in UEC and AEC trend is unlikely to continue for much longer, as we
estimate there are only about 21 million CRTs remaining in service.
Figure 4: Television installed base, UEC, and AEC trends.
0100 200
DTA Adapter: STB
Thin Client: STB
Sound Bar
Video Game
DVR: STB
Television
Non-DVR: STB
Portable Computer
Broadband Modem
Router
Computer Monitor
Integrated Modem
Desktop Computer
ACT
IDLE
SLEEP/OFF
kWh/yr
0% 50% 100%
DTA Adapter: STB
Thin Client: STB
Sound Bar
Video Game
DVR: STB
Television
Non-DVR: STB
Portable Computer
Broadband Modem
Router
Computer Monitor
Integrated Modem
Desktop Computer
284
353
191
1995 2005 2015
installed base (millions)
118
244
141
1995 2005 2015
UEC (kWh/yr)
34
67
26
1995 2005 2015
AEC (TWh)
599
Figure 5: Television type and screen size trends.
Newer displays are getting larger, with higher resolution and more features, yet active-mode power
density (per screen area) has continued to improve [10]. Active-mode power draw of the installed base
declined from about 90 W to 74 W (18%) from 2013 to 2017, even while average screen size
continues to increase (38 inches in 2017, 34 in 2013, 29 in 2010, and 26 in 2006). A key area of
uncertainty remains about specific viewing modes that consumers use, and in particular TV brightness
settings.
Passive standby-mode power draw has remained consistently below 1 W. Network-connected standby
modes for smart TVs can draw significantly more power on the order of 10 W when enabled [10].
This could add about 74 kWh to the UEC (+63%). By default, many televisions do not maintain
network connections when the TV is off, however users can change the settings to keep their TV
connected and ready. Internet-enabled smart televisions were installed in half of all TV households
(CTA O&M 2016), and half of those homes had at least one smart TV enabled and connected (Nielsen
2016). This means there were at least 28 million network-connected TVs, and if half of those
maintained connections all the time, this could add up to 1 TWh to the AEC. Further study is needed to
better understand how people use these modes, especially as connected TVs become increasingly
common.
0
100
200
300
LCD/LED PDP CRT Proj.
2010
2013
2017-raw
2017-adj
TVs (millions)
0%
10%
20%
30%
2010 2013 2017
Screen Size (in.)
600
Set-top Boxes
Set-top boxes (STBs) receive and decode signals for playback on televisions. This section focuses on
STBs used to receive traditional subscription TV services, such as cable, satellite, and telco
providers.
216
We estimate that since 2013, STB energy use has declined by about 15% to 26 TWh in
2016.
Through a voluntary agreement (VA), the STB industry has committed to meeting more efficient
energy standards for newly procured units. As part of the VA, signatories agreed to improve STB
efficiency through deployment of Light Sleep Mode for existing cable STBs, Automatic Power Down for
satellite STBs, Whole Home Systems making available thin-client architectures so not all STBs in a
home require a DVR to play back recorded content, and Next-Generation Power Management that are
compatible with cable system architectures. Annual reporting requirements document the progress,
including independent power and energy measurements of equipment, and sales-weighted category-
specific UEC values of products shipped. Results from these reports were used to develop new
estimates in favor of the traditional bottom-up approach based on hours of usage and power by mode.
The recent decline in AEC was driven mainly by reductions in UEC values. Energy breakdowns,
shown in Figure 6, indicate that in recent years, DVR, non-DVR, and thin-client devices have each
become more efficient, although standby power remains similar to on-mode power draw for most units
(see Figure 7). Thin-clients have apparently displaced some fully functional STBs, resulting in a lower
overall category AEC. Based on the VA annual reporting [11], about 40 million new STBs enter the
market each year with about the same number being displaced. As newer, more efficient devices
continue to displace the older, less efficient stock, UEC is expected to continue to decline.
Figure 6: Set-top box installed base (IB), unit energy consumption (UEC), and
annual energy consumption (AEC) by type.
Figure 7: Set-top box power draw, models shipped 2013-2015.
216
Excluded from these estimates are standalone STBs, such as personal DVRs, digital streaming media devices, and digital-
to-analog adapters for receiving over-the-air broadcasts.
31 33
113
54
0
50
100
150
IB (millions)
46 52
110
188
0
100
200
300
UEC (kWh/yr)
1 2
12
10
0
5
10
15
20 2013 2014 2015 2016p
AEC (TWh)
0
10
20
30
40 ON
STANDBY
W
THIN
CLIENT
DTA non-DVR DVR
601
Computers
We evaluated both desktop and portable computers in this assessment. Desktops include towers and
all-in-one models, while portables include laptop and notebook computers. Tablets and netbooks were
excluded. Overall, computers used about 26 TWh, about 24% more than our estimate in 2013
(desktops 18 TWh, portables 8 TWh; see Figure 8). This was due to several factors moving in different
directions.
First, the installed base continued to trend lower for desktops and higher for portables. Desktops
declined by about 16 million (18%) while portables increased by about 29 million (31%). While the
number of desktops fell, the active usage per unit apparently increased slightly. The shift towards
portable computers tends to reduce overall computer AEC.
Second, the average power draw of desktops has not changed much since 2013. Estimates for active
mode power draw increased by about 15% for desktops, mainly because of model refinements that
account for the difference between real-world power draw relative to the as-measured ENERGY-STAR
test values. Portable active power decreased by about 40%. Estimates for sleep and off modes
decreased slightly for both categories due to efficiency improvements.
Third, differences in usage from prior estimates were driven primarily by modeling refinements. For
desktops, these usage differences caused about half the increase in prior UEC estimates, with the
remainder coming from higher active mode power draw. UEC for portables decreased slightly, mainly
because of the decline in active mode power draw. Survey-based usage estimates carry appreciable
uncertainty for computers, owing to questionable recall and incomplete responses.
Figure 8: Computer installed base, UEC, and AEC trends.
Power management has a strong influence on computer usage. Based on the CE Usage Survey, we
estimated the portion of people engaging in both manual power management routines and automatic
power management settings. Specifically, we asked people what transpired on a recent day when they
were the first person to use their computer. Results in Figure 9 indicate that a majority of desktops and
most portables spend the night in standby or off/hibernate. By studying computers that were reportedly
always left on overnight, we could infer the approximate enable-rate of automatic power management
settings, shown in Figure 5. We used these values to refine usage models for computers and
monitors.
122
72
1999 2004 2009 2014
installed base (millions)
252
45
1999 2004 2009 2014
UEC (kWh/yr)
18
8
1999 2004 2009 2014
DESKTOP
PORTABLE
AEC (TWh)
602
Figure 9. Power state of computers just prior to the first usage session of the day.
Figure 10. Automatic power management setting prevalence of computers.
(based on computers that were always left on overnight)
We also asked about actions people took when they finished using the computer for a given session to
infer manual power management routines. More than half of computers were reportedly shut off at
night, which has the most impact on usage (see Figure 11).
After someone completes a session, how often is the computer…
left ON during the DAYTIME?
put into STANDBY or SLEEP mode during the DAYTIME?
turned OFF or SHUT DOWN during the DAYTIME?
turned OFF or SHUT DOWN at NIGHT?
Figure 11. Manual power management behaviors of computers.
11%
7%
12%
3%
2%
4%
22%
27%
21%
16%
17%
14%
14%
18%
13%
32%
32%
32%
52%
47%
53%
49%
49%
50%
0% 50% 100%
Desktops (All)
Desktop 1
Desktop 2
Portable (All)
Portable 1
Portable 2
SHORT-IDLE LONG-IDLE STANDBY OFF or HIBERNATE
15%
9%
59%
45%
20%
38%
6%
9%
0% 50% 100%
Desktop
Portable
NO APM MONITOR-OFF SLEEP OFF or HIBERNATE
16%
15%
17%
25%
29%
43%
46%
44%
10%
5%
6%
11%
37%
25%
23%
15%
% % % 0% % % %
Desktop 1
Desktop 2
Portable 1
Portable 2
18%
13%
17%
20%
40%
44%
44%
42%
10%
19%
8%
15%
23%
21%
23%
18%
Desktop 1
Desktop 2
Portable 1
Portable 2
19%
10%
19%
21%
37%
30%
27%
24%
10%
8%
10%
13%
28%
37%
35%
37%
Desktop 1
Desktop 2
Portable 1
Portable 2
15%
9%
15%
16%
28%
24%
18%
16%
7%
8%
7%
10%
46%
51%
58%
55%
% % % 0% % % %
Desktop 1
Desktop 2
Portable 1
Portable 2
NEVER OCCASIONALLY HALF-THE-TIME OFTEN ALWAYS
603
Conclusions
We evaluated the annual energy consumed by consumer electronics in U.S. homes for 2017 using a
bottom-up approach, developing estimates for installed base, power draw, and usage by mode.
Installed base estimates were primarily based on market research studies and the CE Usage Survey.
Power draw estimates came from a wider range of sources, including field measurements, energy
consumption characterization studies, ENERGY STAR measurement databases, manufacturer
product specifications, and targeted power measurements by Fraunhofer. Usage estimates were
largely derived from three telephone surveys, each of 1,000 demographically representative U.S.
households.
We found that about 3.5 billion devices consumed 148 TWh in 2017, representing about 11% of U.S.
household electricity use. This estimate is about 11% lower than in 2013. Televisions, computers, and
set-top boxes collectively accounted for about 60% the energy consumed. Relative to 2013, the
annual electricity consumption (AEC) of televisions has decreased by about one third, stemming from
the continued reduction in older CRTs and contributing most to the overall decline.
604
References
[1] Urban B., Roth K., Singh M., and Howes D. 2017. Energy Consumption of Consumer
Electronics in U.S. Homes in 2016. Report by the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy
Systems to the Consumer Technology Association. In Preparation.
[2] Urban B., Shmakova V., Lim B., and Roth K. 2014. Energy Consumption of Consumer
Electronics in U.S. Homes in 2013. Final Report by the Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable
Energy Systems to the Consumer Electronics Association. June (Revised March 2015).
[3] Urban B., Tiefenbeck V., and Roth K. 2011. Energy Consumption of Consumer Electronics in
U.S. Homes in 2010. Final Report by the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems to
the Consumer Electronics Association. Dec.
[4] Roth K. and McKenny K. 2007. Energy consumption by consumer electronics in U.S.
Residences. Final Report by TIAX LLC to the Consumer Electronics Association. Jan.
[5] Roth K., Ponoum R., and Goldstein F. 2006. U.S. Residential Information Technology Energy
Consumption in 2005 and 2010. Final Report by TIAX LLC to the U.S. Department of Energy,
Building Technology Program. Mar.
[6] Roth K., Goldstein F., and Kleinman J. 2002. Energy Consumption by Office and
Telecommunications Equipment in Commercial Buildings - Volume I: Energy Consumption
Baseline. Final Report by Arthur D. Little, Inc. to U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Building
Equipment. Jan.
[7] CTA. 2016. 18th Annual CE Ownership and Market Potential Study. CTA Market Research
Report, March. Consumer Technology Association.
[8] CTA. 2016. U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales & Forecasts 2012-2017. CTA Market Research
Report, July. Consumer Technology Association.
[9] EIA. 2017. Annual Energy Outlook. U.S. Energy Information Agency.
[10] Urban B. and Roth K. 2017. LCD Television Power Draw Trends from 2003 to 2015. Final
Report by the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems to the Consumer Technology
Association. May.
[11] Energy Efficiency Voluntary Agreements. 2016. Annual Reports for Set-Top Box and Small
Network Equipment. http://www.energy-efficiency.us/.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Technical Report
Full-text available
A new Consumer Technology Association (CTA) study, Energy Consumption of Consumer Electronics in U.S. Homes in 2017, finds tech devices in U.S. homes now account for 25 percent less residential energy than they did in 2010 even as the number of these devices in U.S. homes has increased 21 percent since that time. This landmark energy efficiency achievement is due to the consumer tech industry's investments in lightweight materials and energy efficient technologies, as well as the convergence of multi-functional devices and continuous innovation.
Energy Consumption of Consumer Electronics in U.S. Homes in 2013. Final Report by the Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems to the Consumer Electronics Association
  • B Urban
  • V Shmakova
  • B Lim
Urban B., Shmakova V., Lim B., and Roth K. 2014. Energy Consumption of Consumer Electronics in U.S. Homes in 2013. Final Report by the Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems to the Consumer Electronics Association. June (Revised March 2015).
Energy consumption by consumer electronics in U.S. Residences. Final Report by TIAX LLC to the Consumer Electronics Association
  • K Roth
  • K Mckenny
Roth K. and McKenny K. 2007. Energy consumption by consumer electronics in U.S. Residences. Final Report by TIAX LLC to the Consumer Electronics Association. Jan.
  • Eia
EIA. 2017. Annual Energy Outlook. U.S. Energy Information Agency.