Individuals trying to cut the carbon footprint of their home may like to invest in ink supplies for printers with good energy efficiency ratings, as home computing is said to be contributing to a sharp increase in domestic power consumption.

Paula Owen, director of Paula Owen Consulting, explained there have been "huge rises" in the number of consumer electronic gadgets and appliances the average household uses over the last few decades.

She noted that in 1970, these devices were responsible for nine per cent of residential electricity usage, excluding that required for heating, but this will rise to 36 per cent by 2020.

The consultancy firm's recent Elephant in the Living Room report warned that unless efforts are made to improve the efficiency of such devices, the UK will not meet its targets for domestic carbon reduction by this year.

"We will see a further five per cent increase in the electricity consumption of consumer electronic goods – TVs, Blu-rays, games consoles et cetera – and an extra seven per cent for home computing," Ms Owen predicted.