Did you know that your microwave oven consumes more electricity powering its digital clock than it does heating your food? It’s because we barely use the microwave, and 99% of the time, it is on standby mode. Same goes with other appliances in the house—a laptop computer consumes 34.1 watts when turned on, and 16.5 watts on standby. According to a Berkley Lab study, standby power accounts for 10% of our electricity consumption, not to mention that as Americans, we use 2.5 times more electricity that the Europeans and a little less than twice as much as the Japanese.
So what’s a caring consumer to do?
- If you’re considering buying a new appliance, choose one with low standby energy consumption (look for the Energy Star label). They use two to 10 times less electricity for the same functionality, and are better quality products for the most part.
- Get power strips and plug your devices into the strips. Turn the strips off when the devices are not in use.
- Unplug chargers and power supplies (yes, that phone charger that’s plugged into the wall but not into your phone is sucking energy)
For more info, check out the Berkley Lab site on standby power consumption.