A new study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University released this week says that video games consoles consume approximately one percent of all energy used in residential zones, based on energy readings from 2010.

That means a lot of people are playing video games, which is great, but here's the bad news: Around 68 percent of the energy consumed by consoles is used while machines are in idle mode.

In other words, gamers wasted 10.8 TWh of energy. That's $1.24 Billion dollars worth of power.

The study suggests that a massive amount of power would be saved if all consoles included an auto-shutoff feature. An Xbox 360 firmware update last May set the console to automatically shut down if idling, though that can be turned off. The PS3 requires users to manually set the console to automatically shut off.

So do the world a favor. Don't leave your games on if you aren't going to be playing for awhile.

[From Energy Efficiency via The Verge]