Electronics_energy_vampires_fi

Paula B. Garcia Rosa: Energy Vampires

Inspired by the recent Halloween themed posts from Fearghal and Mandy, my blog post today is about “energy vampires”.  By energy vampires here I don’t mean these individuals who prey on the energy of others, but the electronic appliances that slowly suck electrical energy from your home while they are switched off or in standby mode.

Devices like televisions, TV boxes, scanners, and printers are typical examples of appliances that consume standby power even when off.

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Many chargers continue to drain small amounts of energy, even when no device is connected to them or when the connected device is fully charged.  For example, a cell phone charger consumes on average 0.26 watts when plugged in but not in use, and 2.24 watts when a fully charged device is connected to it.

Individually, one charger or the standby mode of an appliance draws relatively small power and doesn’t cause a significant increase in the energy bill. But when many energy vampires are added to the equation, the scenario may be different. According to a study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the energy vampires account for five to 10 percent of an average home’s monthly energy use, adding more than $100 per year to the electric bills. Standby power in commercial buildings is smaller but still significant.

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A waste of electrical energy and money!

Sometimes there is no obvious sign of continuous power consumption by the energy vampires. However, many of them give a sign while they are sucking energy from your home or office – they might give off a little light (e.g., TVs, microwave oven clocks), make noise (e.g., laptop computers) or be warm to the touch (e.g., cell phone chargers).

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A simple tip to cut down on vampire energy is to unplug the electronic devices or to plug them into a power strip’s switch and turn the strip off when not in use. However, if you’re not really keen to crawl behind the TV or the desk to get to the power strip’s toggle switch every time you use the TV or computer, there are also some smart power strips available on the market.

 

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Paula B. G. R., Metamorphosis Collaborator

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