What’s the Latest Development?
Energy consulting firm OPower has released a report documenting energy use in 145,000 US households during last year’s Super Bowl Sunday. Compared to a normal mid-winter Sunday, the amount of energy consumed during the game’s hours — 3:30 to 7:00 pm Pacific Time; 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm Eastern Time — dropped dramatically. In the eastern US, there was a correspondingly high increase in energy use in the hours after the game ended.
What’s the Big Idea?
OPower’s theory is that, as confirmed by a 2011 Nielsen poll, many Super Bowl watchers come together to watch the game, thus concentrating energy use in a smaller number of homes. Also, because they’re basically staying put in front of the TV, they’re less likely to use electricity doing other things. With regards to the energy jump in the east, the report suggests that “many people…were probably returning home en masse from parties. One can imagine that as they walked in their doors, they collectively flipped on the lights and other appliances.” It all sounds intriguing from an energy conservation perspective, but for it to really make a difference, “television executives [would] have to come up with a whole lot of shows that are as widely appealing and entrancing as the Super Bowl.”
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