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Internet-controlled home, office devices could waste billions in energy

by Adam Wilmoth Modified: July 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm •  Published: July 10, 2014

Our homes, offices and lives are becoming smarter, but that power could come with a cost.

With “smart,” Internet-controlled devices, we can now use our phones to remotely control our stereos, televisions, thermostats, door locks, alarm systems, garage doors and even the lights throughout our homes.

The industry is likely to grow exponentially in the next few years as more products are developed and software improves.

The technology gives us greater control, but at what price?

A study from the International Energy Agency last week found that the world’s 14 billion online electronic devices wasted about $80 billion in 2013 because of inefficient technology. The study focuses mostly on set-top boxes, modems, printers and game consoles. The wasted energy is expected to balloon to $120 billion by 2020 as more of the Internet-connected devices come online.

“The proliferation of connected devices brings many benefits to the world, but right now the cost is far higher than it should be,” IEA Executive Director Marla van der Hoeven said. “Consumers are losing money in the form of wasted energy, which is leading to more costly power stations and more distribution infrastructure being built than we would otherwise need — not to mention all the extra greenhouse gases that are being emitted. But it need not be this way. If we adopt best available technologies, we can minimize the cost of meeting demand as the use and benefits of connected devices grows.”

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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