Plug-Load Energy Vampires


The average American household wastes more than $100 a year powering devices that are in stand-by mode. Nationwide, stand-by power accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt-hours of annual electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs. 


The energy consumed by an electronic device when it is plugged into a socket is called the plug load.  If a device is plugged in, it is still using energy even if it's in standby mode. Sometimes this energy is necessary to power remote controls, clock displays, or others devices. Other times, it's just wasted energy!


This energy that is used by a device while it's in standby mode is commonly referred to as vampire load


What are the biggest energy vampires? 


Anything that is plugged into the wall while it's not being used is an energy vampire. The biggest culprits are typically televisions, computer chargers, cell phone chargers, video game consoles, cable boxes, and DVD players.  


What can you do about it? 

Install a powerstrip.

Powerstrips are easy-to-use and acts as a central way to turn off all your devices at once. Use them in a kitchen for small appliances, in your home office for computer equipment, and in your living room or for your television, DVD player, and game console. There are different kinds of power strips, including those with timers, occupancy sensors, and surge protection. Our EASY Program Homeowner Presentation has a detailed explanation of different types of smart powerstrips. 


Funded by the Local Government Strategic Plan Strategies Program

under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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