Conservation Tip: Slay Vampire Power

In the interest of helping our readers reduce energy and water waste, Sustainable Utah will publish weekly conservation tips contributed by the Student Energy Ambassadors, a program funded by Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Gas.

By the Student Energy Ambassadors

Vampire or phantom power, the energy used by technology in standby mode, is a sneaky energy drain that accounts for 10 percent of energy use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Many home appliances cannot be fully turned off without unplugging the device and draw a small amount of energy 24 hours a day. The Berkeley Lab measured the energy demand of common appliances and electronics, and it offers estimates of the amount of standby power for specific devices. Any appliance that involves charging (excluding some newer cellphone and laptop chargers) or has a standby setting—such audio systems, DVD players, and others—draw power in this mode.

Smart power strips like the ones offered through the Student Energy Ambassador program are one way to cut down on this power drain, but the best way is to simply unplug the item. The biggest culprits are older electronics, stereos, and TVs. Be aware of devices that are on standby all day and see where you can cut down on standby power to save some energy and as much as $100 per year, depending on your devices.

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