When the term ‘energy vampire’ is used it means one of two things and both are negative. The energy vampire I want to discuss is the type of wasted electricity in our homes and businesses. Energy vampires are defined as the electronic appliances and gadgets that use power when they are turned of or in standby mode. As an American I know that Americans hate one thing for certain, inconvenience. I spent most of my life enjoying the conveniences of the American lifestyle.
We want what we want, when we want it. Now. Instantly.
And one of those many things is the ability to have any electronic product and kitchen device ready to go when we want it. We want to hit a button and have the television turn on, ready to entertain us. We want coffee to be brewed and ready to drink five minutes before we get out of bed. We love our convenient lives.
That convenient life comes at a price. All of the electronic products we enjoy such as TVs, DVRs, Stereos, DVD and Blu-Ray players need a constant energy supply to be instant on capable. We hit a button and they come on. The coffee pot needs continuous electricity so you can program it to brew your coffee before you get out of bed. In order have that convenience they need to be plugged in and ready to receive the remote signal. All of those products that need electricity to give us a convenient life are energy vampires.
In 2009 I started my journey of reducing, reusing and recycling in all areas of my life. When it came to energy consumption and learning about energy vampires I made the choice to cut energy waste as much as possible. The easiest and quickest way to slay the energy vampires is to unplug them. Most American have more than just a TV plugged in and use power strips. So you can simply bend down and turn off the power strip that has all the electronic equipment plugged into it. This is the perfect solution if your power strip(s) are in a convenient spot you can reach.
Both the power strips I use for my computer and entertainment area are in hard to reach areas. I’ve always preferred to tuck the ugly cords away and have a clean appearance. I started researching remote power plugs that would allow me to hide my cords yet still power them off at night. I decided on and still use a product called Bye Bye Standby. They plug into any wall socket and then you plug-in your power strip. I have used one Bye Bye Standby at my computer and one for my entertainment devices for more than three years now.
I have used them so long it’s an automatic reaction to turn everything off when I go to bed. In the kitchen everything is within reach and simply unplugged from the wall sockets. I use a coffee pot that only has an on/off switch. The microwave and toaster oven are unplugged when not in use. When I leave home I always double-check to make sure I see no LED lights still on. Everything needs to be off, totally.
I’m like everyone else and love a convenient, modern life. I’ve learned to weigh that convenience with environmental concerns and reducing unnecessary energy waste. Unplugging electric devices when not in use save both energy and money. In 2009 when I researched energy vampires I read that unplugging power sucking devices could save $5 to $8 a month in electricity costs. Power saving plugs like the Bye Bye Standby pay for themselves in no time but more importantly teach us to save energy and money. Leaving everything ON was once a habit for me. Now having everything OFF when not in use is a habit.
If we truly care about the environment and concerned about energy use we can’t wait for someone else to make the change. We have to be the change we want to see as Gandhi said. I am the only one I know that takes these steps to reducing my energy consumption. I can only make my own choices and hope others find ways or reducing, reusing and recycling everything in their lives. It starts with one and spreads. Kill the energy vampires!