Pulling The Plug On Energy Vampires

by mbryce2012 on September 25, 2012

Disguised as a common blender, microwave, or phone charger, the energy vampire lurks in homes across the globe… slowly sucking away kilowatt hours while it sleeps.

The energy vampire is not dressed in a black cloak, nor does it hang from the rooftop in bat form… unless it’s a plugged-in Halloween decoration. But the energy vampire does very real damage to electric bills, energy usage, and ultimately to our planet.

I’ve come to suck your energy.
An energy vampire is any appliance that still uses energy while in a dormant state. Left plugged into an outlet, devices like blenders, iPods, computers, DVD players, and power tools will slowly suck energy.


Look out!  Energy vampires are horrifying! They corrupt our world one carbon dioxide emission at a time!  (Hey kids, forget the zombie… maybe you should dress up like  blender for Halloween.)

How much do energy vampires suck?
By some estimates, energy vampires account for 5%-10% of total energy usage in developed countries, and that number is rising because of our dependance on electronic devices.

In an average American household, about $100 a year is sucked away through sleeping appliances like battery chargers, gaming consoles, and more. This adds up to over $10 billion in national energy costs!

Commercial buildings use less standby power, but still contribute significantly to the 1% of total global carbon dioxide emissions caused by energy vampires.

Simple actions to tame the beast:
As long as we use microwaves with digital clocks, remote control devices, TiVo… we will never be able to eliminate energy usage from standby power. However, you can help reduce your household’s wasted energy by up to 75%.  Just follow a few simple steps.

  1. UNPLUG YOUR CHARGERS: When you’re not actually charging your phone, tablet, e-reader, gaming console, battery charger, or iPod dock, pull the plug on the chargers.
  2. CHANGE YOUR COMPUTER SETTINGS: Change the settings so that your computer and monitor shift into energy saving mode when not in use.
  3. USE A POWER STRIP: To prevent electrocution or short-circuit, use a power strip to turn off home electronics and computer devices. Use one strip for home entertainment (TV, VCR, DVD, Blue-Ray, Stereo) and another for the computer and periphery devices. Just remember, though, if you had the next episode of “The IT Crowd” scheduled for recording on your DVR, it’s not going to work if everything’s switched off.
  4.  LOOK FOR ENERGY STAR: If you’re shopping for new appliances, the ones that are Energy Star qualified have the lowest standby power consumption.

With the world increasingly dependent on electronic devices, even in developing countries, the amount of energy sucked away by vampires will not actually be decreasing any time soon.  But we can slow the rate of increase by remembering to unplug and turn off devices that aren’t in use, or that are not used often- like the seventh TV in your mom’s sewing room, or the power saw out in the garage.




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