Beware Vampire Energy image with black bat and wood background.Is that a vampire lurking in the shadows of your home? Yes it is, but don’t get out the cloves of garlic yet. This vampire is not after your blood – it’s after your energy.

Vampire appliances and electronics use electricity when they are plugged in but are switched off. They go into standby mode and could be leeching large amounts of energy. Products that have a remote control, feature a digital display or have a soft-touch keypad use standby energy. Computers, cable boxes and televisions all have large appetites for vampire energy.

The average American consumer spends around $120 a year on vampire energy. That’s 100 billion kilowatt hours of vampire electricity consumed yearly in the United States. We’re not only wasting our money, we’re wasting resources powering up equipment that’s not being used. For example, your mobile phone charger uses 3.68 watts while in use, 2.24 watts when the phone is fully charged, and 0.26 watts when plugged in but not in use.

Here’s what you can do to rid your home of vampire energy (no garlic required):

  • Unplug. Do you have a third or fourth TV and cable box in a room that’s rarely used? Unplug it until you need it.
  • Power strips. Cluster your equipment together on a power strip and turn the power strip off when not in use. This works well for computer systems, phone chargers, printers and gaming systems.
  • Buy low standby products. Check the standby levels before you purchase a product. ENERGY STAR endorsed products have lower standby levels.

If we all make small changes in our home, together we can turn this vampire to dust.

Learn how to identify key energy saving opportunity areas in existing buildings from our online ?No Cost and Low Cost Energy Savings for Existing Buildings? LEED Continuing Education class.