Our Set-Top Boxes Suck Up $3 Billion In Energy Every Year

A new study released by the Natural Resources Defense Council showed that the 160 million set-top boxes installed in 80% of American homes consume more than $3 billion in annual power costs. Mostly from after we turn them off.

The study was conducted in order to investigate how efficient the average home television setup is and how it can be improved. Some of their numbers are staggering:

In 2010, set-top boxes in the United States consumed approximately 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is equivalent to the annual output of nine average (500 MW) coal-fired power plants.

That's insane. Also consider that a recent model HD-DVR consumes more power than an Energy Star-certified 42" LCD screen and consumes more than half the power of your new household refrigerator. Seriously, think about scale in that comparison.

Fortunately, the NRDC notes that industry players are already working together to find more energy-efficient solutions that won't adversely harm the environment while saving consumers billions of dollars. Good. Soon you won't have to feel so bad about recording the next season of Game of Thrones. [NRDC via USA Today, Image via Shutterstock]