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Canadians big on consumer electronics

In the past 20 years, Canadians have enjoyed the boom in consumer electronics. Today the average home has between 20 and 40 consumer electronic devices.

Our communications and entertainment products include televisions, cable, satellite, IP or internet streaming boxes, DVD and Blu-ray players, CD players, docking stations and speakers, game consoles, desk-top computers and monitors, laptops, tablets, modems and routers, cordless and cell phones—and all their chargers.

The electricity used by these and other products plugged into wall sockets is often referred to as “plug load”. While most devices use relatively little electricity, their combined consumption adds up.

The proliferation of consumer electronics makes them the fastest growing contributor to Canadians’ electricity use and costs.

A 2011 energy audit of more than 300 Canadian single-family homes found that entertainment and home office equipment alone accounted for more than 20 percent of electricity used in non-electrically heated homes.

Consumers enjoy greater efficiency and more choices

Canadians want quality electronics that use less energy, save us money and reduce our impact on the environment. At the same time, our choices are greater than ever—and keep changing. We buy more electronics and more often as we upgrade, and that makes it important to shop for energy-efficient models.

Since the 1990s, new technologies, new applications and new products have swept through electronics. Energy efficiency may not be the first consideration when new products are developed but it quickly becomes a key feature in successive versions.

Savvy shoppers check the “second price tag”

A product’s first price tag—the sticker price—is obvious. Smart consumers also calculate the “second price tag”: the cost of operating a product over its lifetime.

Savvy users turn it “off”—truly off!

If you leave devices on full or even in lower-power “sleep” mode when you are not actively using them, you are using energy when you may not need to. This quiet energy drain is sometimes called “phantom” or “vampire” power usage. It is more formally known as “standby power” and it is now regulated in consumer electronics.

To find out more, see our Web page on standby power.

Buy ENERGY STAR® for high efficiency

Make shopping easy: look for the ENERGY STAR symbol.

Products that qualify are the best energy performers of all makes and models on the mainstream market. They meet strict technical specifications for high efficiency—without compromising features or performance in other areas.

For example, an ENERGY STAR qualified set-top boxes is 25 percent more energy efficient than the average non-qualified model.

For more detailed information on energy efficiency in consumer electronics, look at individual product profiles in this section of our Web site.

More information is available in these NRCan publications:

  • Find a helpful overview of ENERGY STAR in Canada in the booklet Look for ENERGY STAR.
  • Bring Energy Savings to your Home Entertainment System [PDF - 1.4 MB] is a useful handbook that offers facts, figures and how-to information on making the most of energy efficiency in electronics. 
  • This pamphlet explains what standby power [PDF - 650 KB] is and how to avoid it when using electronic equipment. “You just turned off your entertainment system. Or did you?”

The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada and are registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.