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Find your energy vampires


- Rob Smith is principal architect at CMBA | Smith Metzger. He writes about sustainable construction and design.

Vampires suck the life out of a person, but by day look harmless.  Much like energy vampires.

Energy vampires are all those devices in your home that are never truly off.  You can tell by the glow of the green light.  In fact I don’t need night lights in my house because of the glowing green light from the TVs, receiver, radio, and more.

Why do we have devices with standby power?  Anything waiting for a click of a remote or a continuous display like the “ON” button.  Sometimes you cannot even tell.

The worse of the devices are digital cable boxes with DVR which in “OFF” mode could use 350 KWH and cost about $30 per year.  Doesn’t seem like a lot but my home energy bill is relatively small.  If you add up all the devices it could be 5-10 percent of my total bill.

What can you do?

  • Use a plug strip at locations where many devices are located.  All my stereo equipment is now hooked into my flat screen so I get to turn off power to TV, amplifier, CD player, and Blu-ray player with one switch.
  • Unplug the device if it is not used much like the CD player and TV in the guest bedroom.
  • Buy a little device that measures exactly how many watts your electronics consume while “OFF”.
  • Buy ENERGY STAR products that might reduce the standby power consumption to 1 watt instead of 10-20 watts.

Let me know if you have any great ways to stomp out energy vampires.  Email me at rsmith@smithmetzger.com

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