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November 9, 2019

A Series on the Environment from the Question Line Duo

Energy Vampires

This constant, overlooked drain of electricity is happening
in almost every home and business, and it really adds up.

power lines

In the week leading up to Halloween, multiple news outlets and groups advocating for the environment posted articles about energy vampires — those electrical devices we leave plugged in, even when not in use, that are sucking "just a little bit" of juice all day long. Your DVR, microwave, stereo and coffee maker are all energy vampires. And apparently heated towel racks are a thing now?! They're a constant drain too.

The Natural Resources Defense Council puts the cost at about $165 per United States household, or $19 billion nationally. That translates to around 44 million tons of carbon dioxide, or 4.6 percent of the country’s total residential electricity generation. In an office, things like printers, computers and phone chargers can consume a quarter of a building’s energy. Slay the Energy Vampires, The New York Times

The NRDC report referenced above is from 2015. Odds are that estimated annual $165 cost has gone up, along with all of those other numbers. Maybe you can dismiss the extra cost, since it's spread out over the course of a year. But can you also dismiss the knowledge that you're piling on to the waste? Instead of adding to that huge carbon footprint, turn off those devices you're not using.

As you go through your weekend, look at your home's setup and consider the changes you're going to make. Maybe you'll decide to install a smart plug for your entertainment system or your home office.

To help conserve electricity and control bandwidth consumption, one staff member installed wireless remote switches for the family's AppleTV and FireTV since they don't have an off button. It's not a "smart" device and doesn't require an app or a smart phone. It's more like a car key fob remote that hangs on the wall in the living room. On the way into the room, you press the on button for that device and on the way out, just press the off button. It's kind of like The Clapper® only you don't clap!

Tip #1: Search online for "wireless remote switches" or "smart plugs" and you'll find lots of purchasing options.

When you're done changing your home consumption, turn your attention to your work setup. Your office changes will further reduce the grand total tons of carbon dioxide produced by this type of electricity waste.

Tip #2: The New York Times article, Slay the Energy Vampires, has more good ideas and links!

bee bridge

"How about allowing nature — the intelligence inherent in that nature — to join us in equal partnership to give us the input we need to make new decisions and live in a new ways that have a strong, positive impact on our lives and our health, as well as the planet?" — Machaelle Wright, Celebrating the Power of the Individual

The Environment Series | EoP Biodiversity Process