Energy Savings Tips: Home Electronics & Computers

Starve power vampires

According to the Department of Energy, 40% of the electricity used to power home electronics and appliances is consumed while the products are turned off. Televisions, VCRs, stereos, phone chargers, computers, and many other devices continue to draw a small amount of current when they are switched off. These phantom loads, also known as power vampires, consume approximately 5% of the electricity used in the U.S. costing over three billion dollars annually.

You can save money by plugging such devices into switchable power strips, making it easy to completely cut off the power. You can also purchase a so-called “smart” power strip that can automatically shut things off when not in use. For Some smart power strips, for example, can cut the power to printers and other peripherals when a computer goes into sleep mode. Smart strips can pay for themselves in less than a year, depending on the number of computer peripherals, etc, you have.

View smart power strips and smart plugs in Verde's Energy Saving Store.

What others have saved: 8% to 10% of total electricity costs

Put your computer to sleep

Set your computer to automatically go into sleep mode at night and when you are out of the house. Turn off your monitor when you're away from your desk for 20 minutes or more. If you will be away for two hours or more, turn off both your personal computer and monitor.

Energy Star labeled computers use 70% less electricity than most standard models. By automatically switching to a low-power mode when not in use, Energy Star computers not only save energy, but run cooler and last longer.

What others have saved: $75 to $100 per year per computer

Consider a laptop

Next time you are in the market for a new computer, consider buying a laptop instead of a desktop model. Laptop computers use about half as much electricity as desktop PCs. To save even more, enable the sleep mode on your laptop after five minutes of inactivity.

What others have saved: $80 to $120 per year

ENERGY STAR qualified televisions use about 40% less energy than standard units.

Flat screen TVs There’s no question about it – big TVs use more electricity. A 52-inch flat screen TV uses almost twice as much power as a 32-inch unit. But some types are much more energy efficient than others. LCD models use about a third the power of plasma TVs, and LED models use about 10% less than LCD screens.

When shopping for a new TV, keep three things in mind:

  1. The bigger the TV the more power it uses, so don’t buy a TV that’s larger than you need.
  2. LCD and LED models use much less power than plasma TVs.
  3. Energy Star qualified TVs, in general, use about 40% less electricity than standard models.

What others have saved: Varies greatly with size and type of TV

Measure power used by home electronics and appliances

Using an inexpensive power meter such as the Kill A Watt™ pictured above, you can find out exactly how much each electrical device in your house is using. This can help you prioritize which products to plug into power strips and which you might want to replace with a more energy efficient model.

View energy monitors in Verde's Energy Saving Store.

What others have saved: $100 or more per year

Use a whole-house energy monitor

Energy monitors can show you how much electricity your home is using on a minute-by-minute basis. Basic models, such as the TED (The Energy Detective) pictured above, are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Some models can interface with Google Power Meter, enabling you to monitor your electrical usage online or even on your smart phone. Once you discover your usage patterns it becomes much easier to save. Studies have shown that simply by becoming aware of the amount of electricity used in the home can reduce electric bills by 10%.

View whole house energy monitors in Verde's Energy Saving Store.

What others have saved: Up to 10% of electric bill

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