The Green Minute – Energy Vampires

The newest energy wasting villain that needs to be slayed in homes and offices throughout the United States is an action called standby power or the industry term “energy vampires.”

According to, standby power is the energy used by some products when they are turned off but still plugged into a power outlet. While this standby power sometimes provides useful functions such as remote control, clock displays, and timers, in other cases it is simply wasted power as a result of leaving an electronic device or power adapter plugged in. The devices causing this waste are called energy vampires because these products are slowly sucking energy from your home while not providing any useful function! In addition to your home office and home electronics equipment, chargers for cell phones, iPods, power tools, etc., also suck energy from your home when they are plugged into an outlet, even if they aren’t charging.

The Cost

The average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices while they are off (or in standby mode). On a national basis, standby power accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of annual U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs.

Take Action

Enable the settings on your computer and monitor, so they go into power save mode when not in use.

  • Use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are done using equipment, which completely disconnects the power supply.
  • Unplug your chargers: cell phone chargers, camera chargers, battery chargers or power adapters, etc. These are drawing some amount of energy even when not in use (and even when not connected to an end-use product).

Source: EPA’s Energy Star

Photo: Justin McIntosh via Wikimedia Creative Commons

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