Energy Star Warns of ‘Energy Vampire’ Standby Power
Energy Star has chosen the spooky time of the year to promote saving energy by advising U.S. households of the significant amount of electricity that “energy vampires” are costing them each year on standby power.
Standby power is energy used by some products when they are turned off but still plugged into a power or wall outlet. While this power sometimes provides useful functions such as remote control, clock displays and timers, Energy Star says that in most cases it is simply wasted power as a result of leaving an electronic device or power adapter plugged in.
“The devices causing this waste are referred to as energy vampires because these products are slowly sucking energy from your house while not providing any useful function,” Energy Star says.
In addition to home office and home electronics equipment, Energy Star includes chargers for cell phones, ipods and powertools on its list of energy vampires that suck energy from the home when they are plugged into an outlet, even if they aren’t charging.
Energy Star says that the average U.S.household spends $100 annually to power devices while they are in standby mode. On a national basis, this power accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of annual U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in yearly energy costs.
Among suggestions provided by Energy Star to enable consumers to “slay the energy vampires" in their homes:
- Look for Energy Star when shopping. All Energy Star qualified products are among the lowest power consuming in their category in standby mode.
- Enable the Energy Star power management settings on computers and monitors so they go into power save mode when not in use.
- Use a power strip as a central "turn off" point when done using equipment, which completely disconnects the power supply. One can be used for a computer and all its peripheral equipment, and another for home electronics (TV, VCR, DVD, stereo, gaming). However, if a timer has been set to wake up a product, such as programming a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to record a program, then the product must remain plugged in (and able to draw standby power) to function as intended.
- Unplug chargers. Cell phone chargers, camera chargers, battery chargers or power adapters, etc. draw some amount of energy even they are not being used — even when they are not connected to an end-use product.
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