I hadn’t really thought of this until I was browsing around the Internet today and saw this article from Mother Jones: We, as a society, are paying a lot for electricity that is going into idle devices.
I live in a one-bedroom apartment and I went around and inventoried how much electronic stuff (non-appliances) that I have plugged in all the time. Two laptops, a desktop, four external displays, two televisions, an iPod stereo dock, a smartphone, a tablet, a portable gaming system, a DVR, an XBox 360, two sets of speakers/subwoofers, and an alarm clock. Certainly, not all of that is being used all the time, nor is it being charged, but they’re all still sucking power, so the message is that I need to be more mindful of my power consumption, and the Mother Jones article linked above offers some common sense tips that all us gadget lovers would be well-served to look over and remember when managing our personal electronics inventory.
The article offered six areas to evaluate in our homes:
1) Cable boxes: The smart advice here, if you have multiple televisions with cable boxes, is to get one of those fancy new single boxes that control all the TVs in your home. According to the Mother Jones piece, a single cable box can use up to 500 kilowatt hours per year!
2) Computers: This is a tough one. I usually leave my computers on all the time because I hate waiting for them to boot up. If you’re like me, then sleep mode is your friend. Obviously, laptops are more energy efficient than desktops if you have a choice. It’s also a good move to turn off your external displays when not using them.
3) TVs: Flatscreen high def TVs are major power sucks. Keep them turned off when not watching them, and even consider unplugging them when not using, as they still vampire off power.
4) Audio/Video components: All your little devices from movie players to iPod stereo docks are sucking power when you’re not using them. The power play (heh) here is to get a smart power strip that cuts off power when the devices aren’t in use and put as many devices as you can on that strip.
5) Game consoles: According to Mother Jones, game console energy use now accounts for 1 percent of all U.S. household energy. When not using these, they can definitely be unplugged.
6) Digital picture frames: This was a surprising one to me, but apparently people who leave their digital picture frames turned on all day long are giving up quite a bit of energy for them. If you’re insistent on using a digital frame, try using one that is energy friendly.