Saturday, July 10, 2010

How our Kitchen will be Green: Vampire Energy

Want to knock 10% off your power bill? On average that is how much power your home consumes not using appliances.

I believe the official term is "standby power" but it also called phantom load or my preference: vampire energy. This is essentially the amount of electricity that is sucked in by appliances, adapters, etc. just from being plugged in. There are two big culprits here:

- Standby features: anything with a clock, a power light or a remote control needs electricity when it is off. The flat screen TV doesn't know your are asking it to turn on via the remote unless there is a powered sensor constantly checking for a signal.

- Adapters: anything that has an adapter on the power cord is consuming power even if nothing is plugged into the other end. Chargers for cell phones and other electronics is the big culprit here.

I took a quick tour of our house and the vampires added up

  • TV
  • DVD player
  • laptop
  • VCR (yes we realize it is 2010)
  • wii
  • stove (digital clock)
  • blender
  • phone chargers (x 2)
  • electric toothbrush
  • clock radio (x 2)
  • wireless modem
  • Dustbuster
  • vacuum cleaner charge station
  • bread maker
  • battery charger

We currently have no kitchen; so no microwave either but that is another common one.

So how do you stop it? unplug! .... but that can be easier said then done. Most people, including us, won't bother unplugging the TV every time they are done watching a show. Luckily, our house already has some switch controlled plugs. Our entire home entertainment system is on a power bar plugged into a socket that is controlled by a wall switch. When we leave the room we flip the switch: no more vampire energy.

Taking this into consideration for our new kitchen we realized that there are several appliances and chargers that we would like to leave plugged in for convenience sake but do not want to be drawing power. So the double outlet on the counter and the outlet by the desk with have switches built in.

Not a big change but hopefully it will help stop a little more of the energy drain and save us some money while we are at it. Or as this ad puts it, help us lose an excuse.

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