Avoid Standby Power


Many appliances and electronic devices continue to draw power even when they are turned off because they are still plugged into the outlet. This is called “standby power” and the International Energy Agency estimates power consumed this way is equivalent to the output of the largest nuclear power plant in the United States (2010). This energy waste costs owners a total of $2 billion a year. Read this article to learn more about standby power.  

To cut down on paying for standby power, try these helpful tips: 

  • Kill Those Watts: Test your appliances and electronic devices  with a kilowatt meter to measure how much energy each consumes. You can check this information against what is recorded in user manuals to make sure your appliances and electronics are working as they should. Take note of the energy-intensive appliances and devices, and consider unplugging them, keeping them on a master controlled powerstrip, or replacing them for more efficient models.  Though it may seem like a chore to unplug or switch off your selected products, it will reflect a healthier energy bill and reduced CO2 impact.
  • Use Smart Tools: A smart power strip helps you choose which appliances and electronic devices to leave on or off (i.e. computer, cable box, or microwave). Expect to spend anywhere from $17-40+ for the technology. Also check out outlet timers that you can program to cut power to the plug and turn back on when you are ready to use the item again.
  • Group Gadgets: Wasted energy from network gadgets (wireless networks, cable modems/routers, television and recording equipment) that typically remain on is responsible for 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions- equal to the annual tailpipe emissions of 1.1 million vehicles. Consider grouping these gadgets on power strips that can switch off in the late hours of the night or when not in use.  

See what ACEEE has to say about home appliances and electronic devices and what Department of Energy recommends about home and office electronics.