After running my experiment, I feel confident pronouncing that gadgets don't deserve the real blame for our nation's mounting electric use. Rather, how about the fact that our houses are getting bigger and bigger: According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average size of a new home now tops 2,400 square feet, up from 1,645 square feet in 1975. The impulse to blame our gadgets for higher energy bills is a testament to our ambivalence of how they've transformed our lives -- an outlet, if you will, for the unease we sometimes feel at how thoroughly things have changed.
although off topic, is probably more revealing and at the same time a catalyst to the real problem. That being that all of the extra space in the house has "caused" me to increase the number of PCs/HTPCs and other miscelaneous electronic devices past what is perhaps truly necessary.