Before my pursuit of green, I was a serious offender… I was one of those people who used to leave the charger for my cell phone plugged in AT ALL TIMES!
I’ve since learned the err of my ways. The Department of Energy estimates that 20-25% of the energy used in our homes is actually consumed by electronics that are in stand-by mode or even “turned off”. Just because it’s not actively being used DOESN’T mean we aren’t using electricity… they still pull and consume energy if they are plugged into an outlet. They also estimate that this collectively costs us $7 billion per year and would require 37 power plants to produce this volume of “unused” electricity! And this energy waste amounts to approximately 97 billion pounds of CO2 emitted into our atmosphere… a major environmental offense!
The best way to avoid this useless consumption of energy is by plugging the worst household offenders into a power strip. Simple as that. I’m talking about computers, printers, scanners, monitors, TVs, DVD/VCR players, TiVos and DVRs, game systems, chargers, stereos (are those “so ’90s” now?!?!) and just any of those electronics and large appliances that don’t need a constant power supply. In fact, up to 75% of the energy they pull is actually consumed when they aren’t being actively used!
I have also learned that while small household appliances do pull a very small amount of electricity if they have a clock or power indicator, they aren’t the major culprits, so you don’t need to get neurotic. But if you do have a microwave, radios, clocks, etc. that you don’t often use, unplug them. Even consider unplugging your electric washer and dryer. And when you do need them, just plug them back in.
With power strips, a flick of one switch can often nearly eliminate this “phantom” power use. Even if you only plugged in your TV and all of its associated systems, it could save about 2% on your energy bill, since the power strip reduces approximately 15 watts of power down to two watts! And if you want to make it zero, flip the switch and just unplug the power strip!
So, “strip” those bad boys, flip the switch, unplug it and cut the waste. (Some days I wish my kids were on a power strip so I could unplug their energy too!)