Unplug Electronic Vampires: See Instant Savings on Energy Bills
Nov 03, 2010 03:28PM
● By Brita Belli
Unplugging electronic devices and appliances can pay real dividends, both in reducing the amount of energy we use—and our subsequent carbon footprint—and in lowering our utility bills. Meanwhile, in doing so, we have the pleasure of plugging back into real human interaction and communication with the natural world to recharge our peace and joy and true power.
With each watt we deduct, we bring down the total energy consumed. All told, electronic devices and appliances account on average for 20 percent of a household’s energy bills. (For the record: A watt is a unit of measurement for power. For example, a 100-watt light bulb consumes 100 watts of power per hour when turned on.)
Standby power, also called vampire power, vampire draw, phantom load or leaking electricity, refers to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode, and not unplugged.
Standby power alone—the power flowing to the TV, DVD player, cell phone charger, laptop and other devices when they’re not in use—can account for as much as 5 to 10 percent of total home energy use. Employing a power strip is an easy way to completely turn off all the assorted gadgets when they’re not in use.
Here’s what we can save each hour, every time we unplug the following electronics:
- Desktop computer CPU: 120 watts when awake, 30 watts asleep
- Desktop computer monitor: 150 watts when awake, 30 watts asleep
- Laptop: 50 watts
- Stereo: 70 to 400 watts
- TV: 19-inch = 65 to 110 watts;
- 27-inch = 113 watts; 36-inch = 133 watts; 53- to 61-inch projection = 170 watts
- Average plasma TV: 301 watts
- Average LCD (standard) TV: 111 watts
- Average LCD (LED): 101 watts (save energy by lowering the backlight)
- DVD: 20 to 25 watts
- DirecTV HR20 DVR: 33 watts
- Microsoft Xbox 360: 119 to 187 watts (video game consoles consume nearly the same energy in idle mode as when being played)
- Sony PlayStation 3: 150 watts
- Nintendo Wii: 19 watts
- Wireless router: 7 watts
We can start by eliminating the standby power drain, then work toward big bucks energy savings by making it a habit to unplug whatever electronics currently are not in use.
Brita Belli is the editor of E – The Environmental Magazine.