Standby Power: Is that Monitor Really Turned Off?

by Joanna Pineda Posted on February 24, 2009

Electrical outlet on a green wall In my last power bill, Dominion Power reported that “(n)ationally, 6 percent of our residential electricity consumption goes to … ‘phantom loads’ used by devices – such as, VCRs, televisions, stereos, kitchen appliances – that are turned off and not in use.   Holy cow!  6 percent?!

I don’t know about you, but my power and gas bills  shock me each month.  At home, we upgraded our HVAC system to high efficiency Trane units; we have turned our thermostat down to 68 this winter; we have window film on bedroom windows; all of our light fixtures and lamps use compact flourescent bulbs; well, you get the picture.

But we’ve completely overlooked the phantom loads used by: the laptops that get left on at night; the PS3, Apple TV and Wii that are on standby all the time; and on and on.  So I dug a little deeper and found these suggestions for reducing the phantom load at home and at work.

BTW, even if I never see the power bill at the office, I want to do my part to reduce my energy consumption. What other suggestions do you have and do you think it’s made a difference?

5 replies on “Standby Power: Is that Monitor Really Turned Off?”

Joanna, you are spot on! We (my wife and I) are very proactive when it comes to reducing our energy consumption. We have taken similar steps by replacing light bulbs with CF, turning off our computers (did you know that the monitor alone accounts for almost 40% of the energy consumed?) each night as well as unplugging as many things as we can e.g., phone charger cords without having a phone attached! We took one more bold step…when we built our house we had a high efficiency fireplace installed, which is EPA rated (low carbon/clean burning) and heats the entire house. We have dramatically reduced our gas bill. The other benefit is, we get exercise when we go and cut wood for the burning season.

one final thought, regardless of where a person stands on the global warming debate, I believe reducing energy consumption is a good thing…and I also believe that organizations can take simple steps to save money using some of the tactics you pointed out as well as by leveraging technology (i.e., web applications, electronic content management solutions) to eliminate paper driven business processes all while reducing costs, improving service delivery and becoming more efficient. Energy conservations = money to be found!

Kevin, thanks for the great comment. I am totally with you that we should all do what we can to reduce energy consumption, for whatever reason that moves each of us. I’ve even got my 4-year old reminding us to turn off lights when we leave a room!

Katie, glad you liked the post and happy unplugging!

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