Watts up

Gadgets and Gigawatts: Policies for Energy Efficient Electronics

Most people would be able to count between 20 and 30 electronic gadgets scattered around their own homes, from televisions to battery chargers. By 2010, there will be over 3.5 billion mobile phonesubscribers around the world, 2 billion TVs in use and 1 billion personal computers.

Electronic devices have become necessities in modern life, and they now account for some 15% of total household energy consumption. Gadgets and Gigawatts: Policies for Energy Efficient Electronics, gives a global assessment of the changing pattern in residential electricity consumption over the past decade and an in-depth analysis of the role played by electronic equipment.

Thanks to highly targeted government policies, the per unit energy consumption of most major appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines and water heaters, has fallen dramatically over the past decade, even as these products have increased in size, capacity and power. But greater use of air-conditioners and lighting equipment, and growing urbanisation and access to electricity in rural areas everywhere around the world, is driving up overall electricity consumption.

The global dependence on electronics will only add to the surge: the International Energy Agency, a sister organisation of the OECD, estimates that energy use by electronic devices will double by 2022 and increase threefold by 2030 unless policy measures are introduced to increase energy efficiency. Electronic devices are now the most globally traded of all household appliances, and considerable benefits could flow from increased international co-operation in developing policies and measures to make them more energy efficient. Gadgets and Gigawatts reviews how government policies can create markets for more energy-efficient appliances and is essential reading for policymakers and anyone who wants to be plugged in to discussions about how to create smarter, more energy-efficient homes.

ISBN 978-92-64-05953-5


©OECD Observer No 273 June 2009

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