Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vampiring: don't be a sucker

Don’t be alarmed, but there are probably vampires in your house right this minute. Not the blood-sucking kind, but the electricity-sucking kind.

“Vampire energy” is the term for the electricity drawn by an appliance while it’s in standby mode (off but still plugged in). I’ve also heard it called “trickle current” and “standby power”.

Here’s an article from Good Magazine on the subject, and one from Grinning Planet too.

How to find out which of your appliances is sucking the most electricity (and money) from your house? Well, you could launch a scientific study, unplugging one per month and studying your utility bills… or you could get the Kill-A-Watt electricity usage monitor for about $25 and find out immediately.

We’ve been discussing energy reduction strategies at work lately. It turns out that one of the easiest things you can do to cut down is to ditch your computer screensaver. Most of today’s monitors don’t have the image-burning problem that once made the screensaver a beneficial application: now it’s just one more power guzzler you don’t need. Read articles about this from Green Daily and Digg.

More easy things you can do to save energy:

Turn off your monitor when you’re away from the computer.

Turn off the power strip that controls all your computer components when you shut down for the day. Even better, turn it off and unplug it… I’m not entirely clear on the difference between plain and surge protector power strips, but from what I’m hearing about “trickle current” and lightning strikes, it’s the only way to be 100% safe.

Download a free application at to optimize your computer’s energy use. According to the website, it will cut your energy bills, reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by reducing your PC's power consumption, give you full control over any power mode settings, improve your overall computing experience and efficiency, and show you, in detail, how much you have saved since installing the software.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that a power strip takes one plug and turns it into many plugs, while a surge protector does the same but tries to keep any major electrical weirdness (ie. lightening) from reaching your (potentially fragile) electronics.

Many surge protectors come with warranties that will pay to replace equipment they fail to protect.