I always rolled my eyes at my Mom when she would yell at me to unplug my curling iron and CD player when they weren’t in use. She would tell me how “it still uses energy” and “it’s dangerous” and “you don’t pay the bill so you don’t know”, and all that fun Mom stuff. Now that I’m paying my own bills (and not using a curling iron), I actually get what she means. I remind my boyfriend on the regular to unplug his laptop and the coffee pot when they’re not in use, and he rolls his eyes at me in return.
I’ve still always wondered if this “vampire energy”, as many like to call it, is really as significant as we give it credit for. Well, according to a new study by the UK’s Energy Saving Trust titled Powering the nation – household electricity-using habits revealed, this type of standby consumption in Britain is much higher than previous estimates. This is one of the first studies to examine day-to-day use of electricity across a region, and it revealed that households spend up to 861 euros a year (1,340 US dollars) on keeping appliances in this idle state.
The research gathered data from 250 monitoring systems in owner-occupied households across the UK. It showed that while the public is well aware of the fact that energy consumption must be cut and conserved as much as possible, many people are still unaware of the many ways electricity is very easily wasted. TVs, computers, and other devices that remain on standby when not in use cost the UK as much as 1.3 billion euros (2 billion dollars) in annual electric bills.
The Energy Trust also discovered that this type of consumption accounts for as much as 9-16 percent of domestic power demand, a number considerably higher than the 5-10 percent previously estimate.
It’s not always easy to remember, but turns out it’s a very beneficial habit to get into, to remind yourself to turn off what you can when it’s not in use, especially if it’s not operated with power from renewable energy sources. It’ll save you money!
Image CC licensed by William Grootonk