According to the International Energy Agency, to satisfy the rising electricity demands of consumer electronics in the next two decades, 560 coal-fired power plants (or 230 nuclear power plants) will need to be constructed. And did you know that a number of household electronics increase your electricity costs even when they are turned off? This is called ‘standby power’, and on average, an American home has over 40 electronics drawing it. Many electronics aren’t really ‘off’ when their switch is in the off position—they may wait, using power all the while, for the signal of a remote, or for the television screen to be turned on again. These products, listed with their standby energy usage as estimated by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, should be unplugged when you aren’t using them. Unplug, and watch your monthly electricity bill decline.
- Video Game Consoles: In an effort to save games, many video game players will leave their console turned on when they aren’t in use. In total, the nation’s gaming consoles use the same amount of electricity yearly as San Diego, the country’s ninth largest city. These can use up to 63.74 watts in standby.
- Televisions: Even when off, televisions with DVR capabilities use energy as they record or power their signal receptor for the remote control. These can use up to 48 watts in standby.
- Cell Phone Chargers: Have you noticed your charger is warm when it is plugged in to the wall but not into your phone? Only about 5% of the total power drawn monthly by a cell phone charger goes into charging your phone—the rest is wasted power when the charger is plugged in but not in use. These can use up to 1 watt in standby.
- Night Light: Even though it is daytime, your night light is still plugged in, using energy to provide light you don’t need. Unplug it, and then plug it in when it starts to get dark. These can use up to 1.2 watts in standby.
- Printer: No one is printing all the time, yet printers are typically left plugged in to wait until they are needed. These can use up to 22 watts in standby.
If your home has all of these things, and you keep them plugged in all the time, you are paying for an additional 135.94 watts to be drawn constantly when these electronics are on but not in use. Keeping things plugged in when you aren’t using them is a secret drain on your bank account, as well as a drain on our limited resources for power —so unplug away!