What happens when you combine Christmas holidays, a pandemic, more people spending more time at home, electronic gifts under the tree, and binge-watching?
BC Hydro is predicting that it will add up to unprecedented electronics use, as people get through this COVID-19 holiday season. A new survey conducted on behalf of BC Hydro finds that over 90 per cent of British Columbians plan to spend more time at home over the holidays because of the pandemic. Over half said they will use more electronics to help pass the time, which — combined with small appliances — account for about 20 per cent of the electricity consumed in a home.
In addition to using more, British Columbians are planning to spend more. Spending on new electronics and appliances was already up by 10 per cent earlier this year, and that was expected to continue this December.
The gaming industry slowed in 2019, but hot items like the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox One X gaming consoles will contribute to increased spending and electricity use this year. About 10 per cent of adults in B.C. are looking to purchase a gaming console this holiday season.
Screen time is also forecast to be at an all-time high. About three-quarters of British Columbians indicated they will be spending more time watching TV and movies over the holiday season than they normally do, so it should come as no surprise that new monitors, tablets, and TVs are at the top of many people’s wish lists.
While electronics will be used to entertain and distract, they will also play a role in connecting British Columbians. Headsets with microphones and LED ring lights are popular gifts as the video conferencing app Zoom continues to be the most downloaded iPhone and iPad app of the year. About 60 per cent of British Columbians said they are planning a virtual celebration with family and friends this year, and about half said they will be making more phone calls to connect with loved ones, which may be why about 10 per cent expect to purchase cellphones for family and friends.
To improve your energy efficiency while hanging out at home this holiday season, BC Hydro recommends:
· Streaming efficiently: Stream movies or TV shows on a device like a smart TV instead of a game console, as it uses 40 per cent less electricity.
· Looking for the ENERGY STAR symbol: Laptops or desktops with this label use between 30 to 60 per cent less electricity than conventional models. ENERGY STAR rated TVs use at least 30 per cent less.
· Considering the monitor size: A 17-inch monitor uses 30 per cent more energy than a 15-inch monitor.