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iPhone 5, Galaxy S3 Need Less Than $1 Electricity Per Year

By - Source: Opower | B 39 comments

Have you ever wondered how much the continues charging of your smartphone costs?

There is now a new estimate that keeping an iPhone 5 charged over an entire year will consume 3.5 kWh. Other phones with different battery capacities, however, may incur substantially different charges. For example, Samsung's Galaxy S III manages 4.9 kWh. By itself, a single smartphone will cost less than $1 over an entire year to charge. For this writer, the cost is about 31 cents.

However, in aggregate, the power consumption of all smartphones is substantial. Opower said that the 170 million iPhones that are expected to be sold over the next year will consume as much power as all homes in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which has a population of 128,000 people. Of course, the company also noted that the local battery is not the only power concern in a smartphone, but the data centers delivering information to those phones need to be considered as well. On the positive side, we are using smartphones for tasks we previously used notebooks or desktop PCs for, so we may end up with a power reduction after all.

Opower noted that a typical desktop PC requires about $28 of power per year to run, while a notebook needs about $8.

 

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  • 13 Hide
    rosen380 , October 2, 2012 7:19 PM
    "However, in aggregate, the power consumption of all smartphones is substantial. Opower said that the 170 million iPhones that are expected to be sold over the next year will consume as much power as all homes in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which has a population of 128,000 people."

    Don't almost all things used by a lot of people look bad in aggregate?

    The average American eats 112 bananas per year-- which produces about 6 pounds of banana peels as waste. That's not so much for a whole year.

    In the aggregate though, Americans are combining for over two billion pounds of peels per year. With the weight of American's banana peels in building materials, you could build 35000 1000 square foot houses, in which the 128,000 residents of Cedar Rapids Iowa can live in... :) 

Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    DRosencraft , October 2, 2012 7:16 PM
    If you care at all about the environment, or saving money, then this will make you feel good. Energy efficiency has become a persistent concern/interest in tech development in recent years and it is showing real progress. Mostly, however, the problem still rests in figuring out a way to make bigger inroads in curbing the energy appetite of data centers. There has been some progress there too, such as switching to different power generation measures (solar panels, wind, geothermal) but I think there is a lot more that can and will be done in the near future.
  • 5 Hide
    Benthon , October 2, 2012 7:16 PM
    Hahaha. I live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa! :D 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 2, 2012 7:19 PM
    $28 per year for a typical PC? wow, guess I'm A-Typical because my beast has a 1.2 kW PSU, and probably runs at around 250W idle and 900W when I'm playing an intensive game (such as Skyrim or Battlefield). I would assume I'm using, oh roughly 14 kWh per day (my computer is on 24/7) which comes to 14 x 365 = roughly 5 mWh. with power being at like $0.0955 per kW in PA average, let's say 0.1 to round it out. My computer costs me.........$500 per year to run.
  • 13 Hide
    rosen380 , October 2, 2012 7:19 PM
    "However, in aggregate, the power consumption of all smartphones is substantial. Opower said that the 170 million iPhones that are expected to be sold over the next year will consume as much power as all homes in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which has a population of 128,000 people."

    Don't almost all things used by a lot of people look bad in aggregate?

    The average American eats 112 bananas per year-- which produces about 6 pounds of banana peels as waste. That's not so much for a whole year.

    In the aggregate though, Americans are combining for over two billion pounds of peels per year. With the weight of American's banana peels in building materials, you could build 35000 1000 square foot houses, in which the 128,000 residents of Cedar Rapids Iowa can live in... :) 

  • 2 Hide
    ddpruitt , October 2, 2012 7:28 PM
    Quote:
    $28 per year for a typical PC? wow, guess I'm A-Typical because my beast has a 1.2 kW PSU, and probably runs at around 250W idle and 900W when I'm playing an intensive game (such as Skyrim or Battlefield). I would assume I'm using, oh roughly 14 kWh per day (my computer is on 24/7) which comes to 14 x 365 = roughly 5 mWh. with power being at like $0.0955 per kW in PA average, let's say 0.1 to round it out. My computer costs me.........$500 per year to run.



    You'd be surprised. I'm willing to bet that peak load on your system is nearer 300W and idle is around 70W (depending on components used). And I'm sure that your system is running nearer the lower end most of the time.

    I've measured a number of systems, low end systems run about 150W full load (around 40 idle) vs my setup with a Phenom 1090T and (previously Radeon 6870) Would peak at 290W under load testing. I'm sure the numbers are a bit different now but even Gaming Rigs use a lot less power than what you would think.

    Electronics have made tremendous strides in efficiency over the last couple of decades.
  • 1 Hide
    ddpruitt , October 2, 2012 7:34 PM
    It should also be noted that their methodology is faulty when comparing one phone to another. Although relative to other devices I'm sure the numbers aren't off by more than a magnitude or so.
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , October 2, 2012 7:34 PM
    If you care about the environment, don't buy new digital junk every year, even if you can afford it. I bought my last cellphone in 1989 and whenever I use it, girls are checking me out.
  • 5 Hide
    killerclick , October 2, 2012 7:37 PM
    JacekForgotHisPasswordAndDoesntWantmy beast has a 1.2 kW PSU, and probably runs at around 250W idle and 900W when I'm playing an intensive game


    I doubt you draw 250W on idle, even if you have 2 year old dual-card setup.

  • 6 Hide
    rosen380 , October 2, 2012 7:39 PM
    "guess I'm A-Typical"

    Until reading this, you didn't think your PC and/or use was a-typical?

    Anyways-- if it is idling at around 250W, then a day you leave it on and don't touch it is at 6 KWh. To get to 14 KWh we're talking 12h 18m of intensive gaming plus 11h 42m of idle. Is that really a typical day?

    If that was the case, and you shut down the machine when you were done with each session, the near 12 hours of ~0 vs 250 Wh per day would mean an annual savings of $107 -- granted, you'd waste a minute every day waiting for it to boot back up [$107 / 365 minutes = $17.55 per hour of your time, tax free :) ]
  • 0 Hide
    ushyperion , October 2, 2012 7:43 PM
    28$/year who, i wish. I rock 6 24" screens and one big ass pc. It costs me about 500Euro~(750$)/year
  • 2 Hide
    DRosencraft , October 2, 2012 7:48 PM
    Quote:
    $28 per year for a typical PC? wow, guess I'm A-Typical because my beast has a 1.2 kW PSU, and probably runs at around 250W idle and 900W when I'm playing an intensive game (such as Skyrim or Battlefield). I would assume I'm using, oh roughly 14 kWh per day (my computer is on 24/7) which comes to 14 x 365 = roughly 5 mWh. with power being at like $0.0955 per kW in PA average, let's say 0.1 to round it out. My computer costs me.........$500 per year to run.


    Just so you know, that does make you atypical. Most people aren't intensive gamers so they don't have a PSU that big, and most people don't leave their computer running all the time. For the record, my PSU is a little bigger than yours, though thanks to less demanding components I'll be downgrading my PSU in terms of wattage and upgrade in terms of efficiency. And I do turn off my PC daily. In fact, my desktop's uptime is only about 6-12 hours on any given day. The rest of my time is spent on my laptop.

    So, yeah, I'm a little atypical myself, so there is some question how much outliers skew these stats. A heavy duty user with a 2,3, or 4x CrossFire/SLI setup with multiple monitors, several drives in RAID, never turning off their computer, and don't even use an 80Plus certified power supply, will use a much, much higher amount of energy compared to a basic, common, user. On the other side, someone who buys all their parts to meet the lowest possible power requirements, with a 80Plus platinum PSU, and tries actively to use as little power as possible, can achieve far less power use than the average user.
  • 0 Hide
    rosen380 , October 2, 2012 7:50 PM
    Yeah-- you're pretty typical too. I have a 1200 mile [each way] commute to work-- I was shocked to find out the national average was much less than that.

  • 2 Hide
    becherovka , October 2, 2012 7:53 PM
    Power cost a lot higher in Australia $0.22/kWh average. I do care when selecting computer components. But smart phones are irrelevant.
  • 4 Hide
    Marco925 , October 2, 2012 7:57 PM
    killerclickIf you care about the environment, don't buy new digital junk every year, even if you can afford it. I bought my last cellphone in 1989 and whenever I use it, girls are checking me out.

    Ok there /sarcasm.

    AMPS has been decommissioned. so i don't know what you use that thing for.
  • -1 Hide
    ddpruitt , October 2, 2012 8:00 PM
    Quote:
    Just so you know, that does make you atypical. Most people aren't intensive gamers so they don't have a PSU that big, and most people don't leave their computer running all the time. For the record, my PSU is a little bigger than yours, though thanks to less demanding components I'll be downgrading my PSU in terms of wattage and upgrade in terms of efficiency. And I do turn off my PC daily. In fact, my desktop's uptime is only about 6-12 hours on any given day. The rest of my time is spent on my laptop.

    So, yeah, I'm a little atypical myself, so there is some question how much outliers skew these stats. A heavy duty user with a 2,3, or 4x CrossFire/SLI setup with multiple monitors, several drives in RAID, never turning off their computer, and don't even use an 80Plus certified power supply, will use a much, much higher amount of energy compared to a basic, common, user. On the other side, someone who buys all their parts to meet the lowest possible power requirements, with a 80Plus platinum PSU, and tries actively to use as little power as possible, can achieve far less power use than the average user.



    You're both atypical yes but you are using A LOT less than what you think. No PC will use more than 1kW in the US, you would be tripping and replacing breakers all the time if it did. Your power use doesn't go up dramatically with a bigger PSU, you're only getting more inefficient.

    For those that think they have a "huge" PC that uses "atypical" amounts of power, I challenge you to actually measure your machines usage. I find that this is very enlightening, particular those times when you think your using a lot of juice.
  • -4 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 2, 2012 8:02 PM
    JacekForgotHisPasswordAndDoesntWant$28 per year for a typical PC? wow, guess I'm A-Typical because my beast has a 1.2 kW PSU, and probably runs at around 250W idle and 900W when I'm playing an intensive game (such as Skyrim or Battlefield). I would assume I'm using, oh roughly 14 kWh per day (my computer is on 24/7) which comes to 14 x 365 = roughly 5 mWh. with power being at like $0.0955 per kW in PA average, let's say 0.1 to round it out. My computer costs me.........$500 per year to run.

    Well done, why don't you burn down a rainforest, dump asbestos in the city's drinking water and kill all the pandas while you are at it
  • 5 Hide
    dvanholland , October 2, 2012 8:03 PM
    I think the title should read "continuous" not "continues".
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 2, 2012 8:25 PM
    Well my rig is an i7 960 (OC'd to 3.84 ghz), 8 gigs of ram (OC'd to 1830 mhz), dual EVGA Geforce 660 cards in SLI, EVGA Geforce 460 (for PhysX), 2x 80 gig SSD drives, 2x 10k RPM 500 gig HD's, 1x external 2 TB drive, 1x external 1 TB drive. Case is the Silverstone RV-02 (90 degree rotated MoBo), 2x 230mm fans, 7x 120mm fans. Platinum+ PSU.
  • 2 Hide
    dalmvern , October 2, 2012 8:37 PM
    I charge my phone over USB by plugging it into my computer...how does that compute?
  • 0 Hide
    manicmike , October 2, 2012 8:45 PM
    Cool on energy effieciency and what not, but think of this:

    If you can afford to pay ~$500 for a phone (if you use a contract, you're still paying that much, just over a longer timeframe), what do you care about an extra dollar a year on you electric bill? What is 15 cents a month?

    If you really care so much about the environment, how about buying a solar panel to charge it with?

    EDIT: Dollar a year meaning it may cost $2 for your old or a different smartphone, as opposed to the $1 for iPhail5 and GS3
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