Washington - Backed by the makers of popular video game consoles, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today introduced legislation aimed at ensuring energy efficiency in the consoles. The Green Gaming Act would require the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct a study of video game console energy usage to determine whether or not energy efficiency standards should be set. Menendez is aiming to include the legislation as part of broad energy legislation, which the Senate is expected to consider later this year.

"As millions of American families use video game consoles as a source of home entertainment, it is increasingly important to promote 'green gaming'," said Menendez. "We know that other home electronics and appliances have become more energy efficient than ever, and we need the information to assess the energy consumption of game consoles. I am happy to have the support of major game console makers and to know that they are interested in making ours an energy-efficient nation.

"The video game industry is constantly striving for more efficient and effective energy use among its product lines," Michael D. Gallagher, President and CEO, Entertainment Software Association. "To further this ongoing effort, console manufacturers have been working cooperatively and voluntarily for some time with the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce energy usage. The industry remains dedicated to environmentally-friendly product design and energy conservation. We appreciate Senator Menendez' leadership in promoting energy efficient game consoles and look forward to working with the Secretary of Energy should this provision become law."

"It's vitally important to make video game consoles more energy efficient," said Natural Resources Defense Council Sr. Scientist Noah Horowitz. "Few folks realize that an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 that is left on all the time can consume the same amount of energy each year as two new refrigerators. We need to better understand how these devices work and plot a path to make sure smart technology is built into the new machines. This Bill should make this happen."

In addition to the initial study, the legislation would require a follow-up study three years later. A comprehensive study of the energy use of video game consoles in all modes will enable DOE to determine whether standards should be set for these devices. To date, no rigorous testing of consoles has been done. The Entertainment Software Association (Microsoft and Sony are members), Nintendo, and the NRDC have all written letters of support for this legislation.

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