FIGURE 1. Tron lies darkly in wait for its next victim.
Even though we're currently obsessed with the Sun, we didn't forget today is Earth Day. (Excuse us, but our secret Technorati super spy code is RTZSBQR64GH4.)
And as you may or probably do not know, last year we carbon offset our Tron arcade cabinet in honor of Mother Nature. This year, we're upping the ante: we're carbon offsetting all our gaming and otherwise non-productivity-related devices.
This includes: an Apple IIe + mini monitor (our Fibonacci number generator), 2 photo frames, 2 Virtua On arcade games, 2 52" LCD televisions, 2 Xbox 360s, a Retro Duo, and a Wii.
FIGURE 2. High tech proto netbook.
Using our handy Kill-A-Watt meter and some math to calculate kWh based on actual gameplay per year--that was the extra fun part--we learned how much electricity our consoles, arcade cabinets, and random bits of computery gobble up:
|TABLE 1. POWER NOMMAGE BY DEVICE|
|Apple IIe + monitor*||262.80 kWh/year|
|Photo frame (both)*||7.01 kWh|
|Virtua On (pair)||14.60 kWh/year|
|52" TV (on/standby)||85.96/16.95 kWh/year|
|Xbox 360 (both)||25.11 kWh/year|
|Retro Duo (both)||0.10 kWh/year|
|Wii (on/standby)||6.03/13.68 kWh/year|
*These 3 stay on 24 hours/day most of the year. The rest of the devices' kWh-nomming was calculated according to how much they are actually used, or how much they need during standby mode.
That 2622.24 kWh equals 3,595 lbs of CO2 emitted each year, according to Terrapass, which calculates the carbon footprint of your local power plant via zipcode.
So, now that we have those devices squared away with carbon offsets, there's still something else totally genius we could do: unplug the Wii and television when they're not in use. Since they're all attached to one power squid, this is easily done.
FIGURE 3. Virtua On is actually off.
Looking for ways to make your gaming a little bit greener this year? The easiest (and most money-saving) thing to do is unplug anything that wants to be in standby mode. It's typically a very small amount of power being pulled, but it adds up over the year.
If you're able to do more, you can carbon offset like we have using a service like Terrapass, 3 Degrees, The Nature Conservancy's carbon offsetting program, or Carbon Neutral (specific to the UK).
It goes without saying that if you're in the position to choose energy sources, going renewable with solar or wind would be an excellent idea--and could lead to some really interesting rooftop hacks. Let us know if you've set up your own homegrown solar or wind solutions, but remember, pics or it didn't happen.
Got any other ideas? Share 'em in the comments!