Like many New Englanders, DG and I have been impoverished by incredibly high heating bills. We have electric heat, so that gets wrapped into our electric bill. Given the high bills we’ve had the last two months, DG suggested that perhaps the new Xbox 360 was eating up a lot of power.
As I was both curious about that myself—and feeling defensive of my beloved console—I decided to do a little digging online. First up was this article, which showed that, during game use, the 360 eats up an impressive amount of power, while our Wii sips lightly at the electric tap (with the commensurate dip in graphics complexity):
The whole article is interesting and informative, and sheds light on something I’d never really thought about before.
Of course, the real question is how this translates into higher digits on my electric bill. As it turns out, if I were to leave my Xbox 360 on all the time, the cost would be about $20 a year according to this article, whose writer based the numbers on what NStar was charging him in the Boston surburbs. Given that we live in Brighton, that’s probably about dead-on for us. $20 spread over the course of the year isn’t bad at all, and it definitely isn’t accounting for our massively high energy bills, particularly given the fact that I don’t leave my 360 on (and have also stopped leaving my PC on during the day).
So apparently the high bills are mostly heating costs. Still, it’s nice to be aware of this. The seventh generation consoles represent a large jump in energy usage, since the most power-hungry sixth-generation console (the original Xbox) cost only $8 a year. And given the size of the 360’s massive power brick, and the fact that it vents enough heat to warm our study, I can’t say I’m surprised.