Okay, that was kind of cheating because I don’t write about vampires (yet) but right now, since it’s still the Earth Day Celebration, I’m talking about vampire energy

If you haven’t heard the term before, vampire energy is energy being drawn when not in use — the cell phone charger plugged in even when the phone has finished charging, the computer left on overnight, the lights left on in bathrooms when not needed, the clock of the microwave or the VCR scheduled to record something. These sources of low-wattage energy usage account for 5-8 percent of a home’s total electricity usage per year, according to the Department of Energy, which is equal to about one month’s electricity bill-for every household in the United States.

In some homes it could be as high as 20-30 percent.

How many things use vampire energy in your home? In my home, too many. I have a laptop that I used to leave plugged in and charging all night, a VCR/DVD player with a LED clock, the TV has an instant on, the microwave has a clock, Hubby’s razor charges at night along with our phones and iTouches. So what do you have?

Electrical devices plugged in 24 hours a day typically draw between two and 20 watts—even when the device is fully charged or powered-off. For example, When your TV is “off,” its power supply is still drawing power so that when you flick the on button on your remote it instantly turns on. This is convenient, but if you feel the power supply of a plugged-in device  it will be warm. Generating that heat consumes energy. Standby power is estimated to account for roughly 10 percent of US residential electricity consumption, valued at more than US$6 billion annually.

Some examples (typical values):

• Desktop computer – 73.97 W when on and idle (21.13 W when asleep and 2.84 when “off”)

• Laptop – 44.28 W when on and charging (4.42 W with just the power supply plugged in)

• DVR and digital cable box – 44.63 W when not recording with the TV off, but astonishingly still 43.46 W even when “turned off” by remote

• Cell phone charger – with phone plugged in but fully charged, around 2.24 W (the charger alone stuck in the outlet just 0.14 W)

Just something to think about – I unplug my laptop and then turn off the power strip. I can charge my phone in the car on the way to work.  What do you do?

Thanks to Charles W. Moore for some of these facts.

Remember to go back to to enter the contest for the Paperwhite again!

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