Simply plugging in a cell phone charger or an external power adapter for a portable computer uses energy even if the device is completely charged. The charger or adapter also uses energy even when it is not connected to a cell or computer. Think about unplugging chargers and adapters from the wall once your devices are completely charged.
Many electronic devices sold today are equipped with an instant-start device, which uses electricity whether or not they are running.
To be able to turn on instantaneously, most televisions, for example, consistently draw a small amount of electricity. Similarly, any appliance with a clock, timer, memory, remote control or transformer consumes electricity even if it is turned off. The energy consumed when these devices are turned off is called "phantom power", "vampire power" or "standby power". Although each device uses only a small amount of electricity to be ready to run, the sum of phantom power at the scale of a housing complex can be a considerable energy expenditure.
Use power bars to connect electronic devices such as stereos, video players, computers and peripherals together. This will allow you to turn off all devices simultaneously by pressing a single switch, reducing energy consumption due to phantom power.
ENERGY STAR certification requirements address this issue by limiting the quantity of energy that can be used in “sleep” mode. For example, an ENERGY STAR certified television uses 40 to 50% less energy than a standard television. The same applies to ENERGY STAR computers which can use 70% less energy than standard computers in “sleep” mode.
For more information:
- visit the page Electronics on the Office of Energy Efficiency at Natural Resources Canada Website;
- consult the list of electronic products ENERGY STAR;
- consult the brochure Bring Energy Savings to your Home Entertainment System (PDF)
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