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Home Energy Use

Updated on August 19, 2014

Your Electronics and Power Consumption

An increasing number and variety of home electronics have made their way into our homes. These great gadgets bring us previously unimagined efficiency, access to entertainment and information, increased security, greater connectivity to friends and loved ones, and numerous other advantages.

Unfortunately, these devices are also responsible for increasing home energy use. In fact, they are guilty of guzzling millions of kilowatts of energy each day. Reducing this energy consumption can reduce pollution and save individual consumers hundreds of dollars per year. Find out how to measure and reduce you home energy use on this page.

Measuring Power Consumption

What is Your Home Energy Use?

Everything from cable set top boxes and televisions to broadband modems and power adapters consume energy; even when devices are not in use.

Estimates vary, but some reports indicate that home electronics account for as much as 25% of all US residential home energy use.

Perhaps the first step in the process of dealing with the issue of electronics power consumption is to identify the items within your household that consume the most power. Reigning in the biggest offenders can make a significant difference.

Consumers can get a good estimate of the power consumption within their household by using standard calculations, making use of power meters, or taking advantage of some basic online tools.

How To Save Energy At Home

Tips to Curb the Apetite of Your Electronics

Eliminating all of the home electronics in your house probably isn't feasible or desirable, so what can you do to reduce your home energy use?

Here are a few tips:

Purchase electronics that consume less energy.

An LCD screen consumes less energy than a traditional CRT or a plasma screen. This is true for computers as well as televisions. Some DLP TV models that are laser based will reportedly be released in 2008; these sets will use 1/2 the power of a similarly sized LCD. (Note: see link below describing recent Panasonic developments that may put plasma on a more level ground with LCD in the near future and one on laser based DLP TV.)|

Look for the Energy Star label when making purchases.

Smaller means less power. A 32 inch television generally consumes less power than a 52" television.

Laptop computers use less power than desktop computers.Power off electronics when not in use and unplug if feasible; many electronics continue to use power when left plugged in.Obviously, users don't want to have to reprogram a device if it must have the time or other functions reprogrammed each time it's powered down, but in most instances, this is not a concern. Use of a power strip is a good idea, as several devices can be turned off at once by flipping a single swich and avoiding the need to dig around for the outlet. Use appropriate settings on display screens, especially the television.Avoid excessive brightness if the room lighting doesn't require it. YouTube has a demonstration by Philips of their simple settings adjustment here. If you plan on using a Test Pattern to help you here are some written instructions or without a test pattern try here.Make use of sleep mode, hibernate, or stand-by features when offered.Be sure to set such features to activate within 20 minutes so that the device reduces power consumption as appropriate. Again, it is still best to power off devices when not in use but stand by mode is a good safety measure for times when you might forget or plan to return within 15 or 20 minutes.

Energy Saving Ideas on YouTube

Reducing Power Consumption: The Future

Certainly, manufacturers are working to design home electronics that will consume less power and decrease the average home energy use.

Alternative power sources from hydrogen fuel cells, body heat, and solar power among others are being phased in as new technologies such as OLED for lighting and display screens on televisions and computer monitors are being refined for reliability, affordability, and energy conservation.

Read more to find out what the future holds.

Saving Energy At Home: In a Nutshell

Learn About Future Energy Saving Technologies for Electronics

Introduction Photo Credit: tanakawho.

Measuring Power Consumption Photo Credit: Micah Taylor.

How to Save Energy at Home Photo Credit: ppdigital.

Reducing Power Consumption Photo Credit: CPStorm.

Home Energy Use: Other ideas to reduce electronics power consumption?

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    • profile image

      squidootime 

      7 years ago

      Very relevant topic - energy prices continue to soar!

      Thanks

    • profile image

      murf707 

      8 years ago

      Run your Car/Truck on water with a Gas Conversion Kit!!! Save your self Thousands of dollars a year! http://www.hydrofuelcells.net

    • profile image

      murf707 

      8 years ago

      Run your Car/Truck on water with a Gas Conversion Kit!!! Save your self Thousands of dollars a year! http://www.hydrofuelcells.net

    • profile image

      ChessKnught 

      8 years ago

      Wow! I'm impressed, you've done your homework and put together some great tips.

      Another thing to consider is how you can share the energy/water you're saving with others in your community. District Energy Sharing solutions (low-temperature) are beginning to make their way into communities across the globe. The Whistler Athletes village (featured on the discovery channel recently), is a great example of just such an effort. It's not just about building up new communities with DES type systems, but more importantly retro-fitting existing communities with these capabilities. We need to urge our local municipal politicians to look into DES and other related technologies to help reduce community energy/water consumption.

      Seems like we have similiar goals, so I hope you'll consider stopping by to learn more about the E2O fifty community challenge to everyone from the grass roots to community officials and Government leaders to actively reduce energy and water consumption by over 50% within your communities.

      Please band with us and join the E2O fifty challenge, today.

    • profile image

      stacyfaye13 

      8 years ago

      ANOTHER GREAT IDEA, I THINK, IS TO USE VINYL WINDOWS. THEY ARE KNOWN TO KEEP YOUR PLACE COOLER IN THE SUMMER AND WARMER IN THE WINTER, SO YOU USE YOUR AC AND HEATER LESS.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      There is a system thats been used in Europe for the last 8 years in hotels and is now available in the states called GreenSwitch. Available for demonstration just about everywhere, email michael@wealthcreationplus.com for more info or go to www.greenswitchteam.com

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 

      9 years ago from Canada

      We'll be getting a new TV soon also, so will refer back to this lens - thanks and 5*!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      I need to get a new TV, especially one with a lower power consumption. I didn't even have that in mind when I purchased mine. It's one of those huge early HDTVs that weigh a couple hundred pounds. I can't wait to replace it. Lensrolling this to my home energy efficiency lens.

    • profile image

      PosterChildSmile 

      9 years ago

      I'm always interested in ways to lower home energy use and I thank you for your helpful tips!!!

    • profile image

      jdac1999 

      9 years ago

      Hi, very nice lens. I like the way you have taken electronic consumption and broken it out in many specific points. I'm totaly onboard with you on the standby power and put a lens on using a smart strip. The beauty is it does the thinking and you don't have the flip the switch - not always practical. I also have a lens on home energy saving tips if interested.

    • profile image

      Iatjad 

      9 years ago

      How true! Plugged electronics do consume energy even when turned off. I hate pulling out the plugs so I use power strips with switches. A simple flip of a switch cuts off electricity flow. I also have a mini lens with more energy conservation tips. Please drop by when you have the time :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 years ago

      Research indicates that a leading cause for energy wastage is that people have little or no understanding of the amount they spend on electricity or gas while using domestic (electronic) appliances ! See the article http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=17...

      It might be of interest to develop some free tools to stimulate this cost-awareness (and thus save a lot of energy!), i.e. this free software to monitor domestic energyconsumption and costs : http://econote.nibfo.eu/

      /cheers

      Berend

    • RichLeighHD profile image

      RichLeighHD 

      10 years ago

      Excellent lens. Very useful and fantastically well laid out!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      10 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Very nice lens, 5***** You can also wash your clothes in cold water - only really stubborn stains need hot water. That makes all the difference. I wonder too if it's better to wash and dry smaller loads. A drier works a lot better with a smaller load.

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 

      10 years ago

      I love my HEwasher and dryer. Also, I found a cool site that shows how you can save on your power bill each month just by turning things off (something we sometimes forget) - http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/vampire.html

      I even learned a thing or two. Slowly, I'm getting my plain light-bulbs switched over as the old ones burn out, but it's costing a lot of money initially to buy them.

    • profile image

      WorldTravelers916 

      10 years ago

      solar panels are being used worldwide to gain a natural source of energy!

      cosmetic surgery

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 

      10 years ago

      Great tips here! Thanks.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 

      10 years ago

      We made lowering our energy useage a family project. Lights are turned off. The 3 hour showers have stopped, we added insulation to the attic...

      Your lens has given me more ideas. Good job.

      5*

      Lizzy

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 

      10 years ago

      It is so important to realise that everyone can do something to help reduce energy consumption. We really can make a difference.

    • DrRichard LM profile image

      DrRichard LM 

      10 years ago

      A great lens on a really important subject. I am just about to invest in some solar panels.

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 

      10 years ago from Minnesota

      I see you've made the Isle of Squid - congrats! Good job!

    • profile image

      marasco2001 

      10 years ago

      Great lens! I'm anxious to read some of the articles that you have linked to.

    • TheBookGarden1 profile image

      TheBookGarden1 

      10 years ago

      Great subject and well written, I've rolled it to my lens on green computing, which features ways of cutting the carbon emissions of your pc!

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 

      10 years ago

      Great lens idea! I also have 2 lens about energy. Cold Fusion, and USA Energy: wind, solar, water, ocean etc. We all need to find ways to change our energy use! 5 stars!!!!!

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 

      10 years ago

      Great lens idea! I also have 2 lens about energy. Cold Fusion, and USA Energy: wind, solar, water, ocean etc. We all need to find ways to change our energy use! 5 stars!!!!!

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 

      10 years ago from Minnesota

      Every little thing we can do will help. This is an excellent lens and I'm lensrolling it and favoriting it, too. Five stars.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 

      10 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      I love this lens - thanks for the important environmental info! Woofs, johann

    • profile image

      rockycha 

      10 years ago

      Excellent in-depth info as always. Your lenses are always spot-on and well done!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      10 years ago from USA

      Excellent information here. I learned quite a lot and am now going to go through my home and start unplugging things not in use!

    • profile image

      LeslieBrenner 

      10 years ago

      I'm waiting for solar "panels" in the form of exterior house paint, or wind turbines for NYC apartment dwellers [like me], or air propulsion cars by MDI [being manufactured by Taha -- India's equivalent of Ford] here in the US, or MIT's plasmatron on every gas-guzzler, or sound energy, or ....

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      10 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Great topic. My husband has started making sure our printer is turned off at night. The computer is on to run scans overnight, but at least we can turn the printer off. One small step for mankind, or something like that. Thanks for the information!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 years ago

      Seems like energy consumption, the cost of living, the economy is on everyone's mind, with good reason! I also have started a series on the same topic! Great Job, a 5*er.

    • profile image

      chloecavanaugh 

      10 years ago

      I had no idea. Thank you for doing this lens. This is extremely important, and we can all learn from this.

      *****

      Chloe

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