Just One Thing: Green Your Video Games

Cutting down on energy costs is as easy as turning off game consoles after use.

Dec. 3, 2008 — -- According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than 40 percent of homes in the United States have at least one video game console. Together those consoles use as much electricity in a year as every home in San Diego combined.

The NRDC measured the amount of power the Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii use when they are active, idle and turned off and found that these systems use nearly the same amount of power when someone is playing them as they do when they are unattended.

According to the NRDC, many gamers simply forget to turn off their consoles when they are finished playing. Video game consoles that are left on all the time might be consuming roughly three times as much electricity as the flat screen televisions they are connected to.

But there are some quick and easy ways to cut down on energy waste through video game consoles.

All three major consoles offer a power-saving mode. And statements by both Microsoft and Nintendo offered an even simpler solution: turn the system off when it is not in use.

"All consumer electronic devices use energy when left powered on, including gaming consoles," a statement from Microsoft said. "Microsoft encourages users to enjoy their Xbox 360 consoles as much as possible, however, when not actively using the console, please consider turning it off to conserve energy."

Similarly, Nintendo said the company "understands the main message is to power down your console when you're not using it."

Sony, whose "Power Save" option was released after the NRDC report came out, said its user can "elect to turn off their PS3 system and wireless controllers automatically after a certain period of time they are left inactive."

The NRDC told "Good Morning America" that it is working with the leading video game hardware and software designers to help make the next generation of video game consoles more efficient than they are now.

On the Web:

Sony Playstation Power Down Settings:

Natural Resources Defense Council