There’s a great article in The New York Times on energy consumption and how to decrease yours. I don’t know how easy the article will be to acces, since after a day or two they generally require sign in, but it’s an interesting read.
The author bought a Kill A Watt to measure the power consumed by various electronics when they were not in use. These included his computer, TiVo, cable box and DVD player.
The experiment made him realize just how much energy he was wasting in his home. He’s not alone:
Indeed, the Department of Energy estimates that in the average home, 40 percent of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Add that all up, and it equals the annual output of 17 power plants, the government says.
This is something I’ve been trying to convince my husband of for a while. I may even decide to pick him up a Kill A Watt at some point if it will help to make my point.
I’ve often thought that what I need to do is have appliances that I don’t need to worry about reprogramming attached to a power strip that I can turn off. There are an awful lot of electronic devices that have clocks on them that I really do not need. That’s a bit challenging with children, however, if these relate to anything they might want to use.
My computer has long since been set to go to a low power mode when I’m not using it for a time, and I’m working on the habit of flat out turning off the monitor. Only reason I don’t turn off the whole thing is because I use Media Center to record television shows and I don’t always know if it’s going to be catching something. But I’m hoping that one computer left on is more efficient than one computer plus one TiVo left on. This hope is somewhat confounded by the author’s measurement of an idle computer drawing 134 watts versus an idle TiVo drawing 30 watts.
But I don’t have the budget for a TiVo or the subscription to actually use it. So the only way I can change that is to start remembering to check the schedule to see if I should bother to leave it on. And to remember that it’s scarcely a disaster if we miss a show or three.
There are some little things I know to do already, such as unplugging chargers when they aren’t actually charging anything. It’s working on the bigger devices that is challenging.
There are a lot of things I would like to do to save energy, but are hard to do when you’re a renter. Replacing the refrigerator, for example. The one we have here is old and I can’t believe it’s efficient. Ditto the washer and dryer. No HOA to file insane objections, so I’ve been thinking that I should find a way to hang a clothesline. Just haven’t puzzled that one out yet. The fence is brick and no trees in the yard, so this is not something easy to do.
Have you given much thought to your power consumption in your home? Done anything about it?