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Vampire Electronics / Standby Power Usage

Updated on August 04, 2014
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Set-Top Box: On 30.198 / Off 28.286

There is no shortage of articles and research about standby power usage or as these electronics have become affectionately named Energy Vampires. You know that a phone charger is sucking power whether it is charging a phone or not. Recent news has been informing us that the cable box is the largest energy vampire in our homes. Computers, Blu Ray players, game consoles and microwaves are all drawing power, even when they are not in use. Let’s take the time to really think about what this means in the larger context of our interconnected world.

Notebook Computer: On 29.48 / Off 8.90

Plug Energy Vampire
Plug Energy Vampire | Source

Cellphone chargers are a wonderful example of how it might be insignificant for any one individual, but when you go beyond yourself the implications are huge. These chargers draw about .000168 KWH. (Kilowatt-Hour is 1,000 watts of energy per hour and is the unit used for billing.) Never unplugging a cellphone charger will cost less than a penny a day. In the United States there are over 302 million cell phones and over 5 billion in the world. Taking just 10% of that world wide figure equals 84,000 KWH of power. Keep in mind according to one study 65% of people in the UK do not unplug their chargers yet we only used 10% in our calculation. (I like easy math.) It is estimated that Americans spend 3 to 4 billion dollars annually on wasted power. That kind of money has a lot of power.

DVD Player: On 13.51 / Off 5.04

Beyond your pocket book there is the environment. About 27 billions KWH of energy is wasted annually in the U.S. The coal industry estimates it takes 0.8 lbs of coal to create 1 KWH of electricity. The Department of Energy puts this number at 2.1 lbs of coal for every 1 KWH of energy. Either number when put in the context of 27 billion is significant. The statistics on oil were more difficult to find. The figures I found were between 34.7 to 44.5 KWH for every gallon of oil. These were not from established organizations, so I am hesitant to mention them, but I wanted something to at least think about. We have many sources of energy and as of now they are all being used to meet our needs. The less energy we use, the fewer resources we need to consume.

Cable Modem: On 6.25 / Off 3.84

Any one of these energy vampires by itself is probably not a concern for you as an individual. Now add the $150 a year for your television, $25 yr. for the game console, $15 yr. for your laptop, $8 yr. for your DVD player and just keep adding those number together for all your electronic equipment till you get a dollar amount that would make a difference to you. Now find the standby power usage of your electronics, but this time instead of adding it up think of the thousands, millions, billions of those products out there in the world and then multiply it. If we can reduce these vampire appetites one appliance at a time, the amount of resources being consumed will be drastically reduced.

Desktop Computer: On 73.97 / Off 2.84

Some appliances are easier to manage than others. Just UNPLUG that battery charger when it is not being used. If your T.V. is anything like mine, there is a mass of plugs for the cable box, DVD player, game consoles behind it and your computer has more than that knotted under the desk. A simple solution is to get switchable power strips. Have things like your cable box that need to be left on plugged into one and thing that can be turned off between uses like your DVD/Blu-Ray player in another. As your electronics need to be replaced, look for more energy efficient appliances. You can’t switch off your refrigerator, but you can choose a more energy efficient one.

Vampire Electronics Cape
Vampire Electronics Cape | Source

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