Until kinetic– or solar-charging technology gets perfected in the retail market, the consumer tech world is relegated to one simple truth: We have to plug in to stay tuned in. But in this smartphone-toting, tablet-packing, laptop-carrying era, how much are all these devices costing us in electricity and money?
Turns out, not that much. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) evaluated some popular gadgets in its Knoxville, TN, labs and discovered that a year’s worth of electricity to power/charge them is actually rather negligible.
For example, every version of the iPad uses less than 12kWh of electricity, or $1.36, in a year (based on full, topped-up charging every other day). That’s less than the annual consumption of a 60W CFL light bulb (14kWh/$1.61). Laptop PCs used about 72.3 kWh of electricity per year (or $8.31), and desktops predictably cost more, at $28.21 per year. While more than three times the amount of laptops, it’s still far less than another common household machine — our refrigerators, which cost us $65.72 in electricity fees per year.
When it comes to smartphones, the price becomes outright laughable. For some reason, the labs tested a legacy Apple device: The iPhone 3G used just 2.2 kWh at $0.25 annually. In other words, an outdated phone (which one might presume would be less efficient) costs just a quarter per year to run.
In general, logic seems to win out here: The smaller the device, the less power it takes to run it.