Energy Zapped!

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 3:38 PM

I recently had a conversation with my husband, Dennis, when he arrived home after work. He works swing shift so he gets home at about 12:30am after myself and our son, Jacob, are already in bed and asleep. This particular evening he woke me up and asked me why the DVD player was still spinning and if thought Jacob might still be awake as his television was still on. Mind you this is not a new topic of discussion for us, so it must have really irked him this time in order for him to wake me up. I know these comments are also going to spur some discussion around falling asleep with the television on and my parenting style, but this blog is really about energy use, specifically "phantom energy."

It wasn’t a huge deal in my mind, this energy consumption, until doing some research on it. According to www.mygreenelectronics.org leaving my DVD player on 24 hours a day costs me approximately $12.43 per year. Now, when my DVD player is plugged in, but turned off you would think that it would cost me nothing. This is not true, however. It still uses 2.9 watts even when turned off! That is $2.41 per year, which doesn't sound like much when thinking in individual terms. The U.S. population, however, is over 300 million people according to the CIA factbook estimated in 2008. Therefore, if just half of the US population unplugged their DVD players when not in use it would save an estimated 300 million dollars per year. 300 million dollars per year!

I’m not even going to touch on the television issue this time. The bottom-line is that this energy that is being zapped from our electronics even when they are turned off is called “phantom energy.” To stop this kind of unknowing waste of our resources we should all do our part and unplug anything that we can when we aren’t using it. Think of all we could save.

posted by Catherine Martell-Straight

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