The Price of Vampire Power

By Brianne McCleary

Below is an excellent video from GOODMagazine on the costs of Vampire Power. I have summarized the key points below but you can watch the original video at the bottom.

What is Vampire Power?
Even when household appliances are turned off, most are still using some electricity. Appliances are either in passive standby mode (the clock on the stove and microwave is still on) or active standby mode (the DVR is off, but programmed to record something. This is called vampire energy, phantom energy or wasted standby power.

How much energy do running appliances use?
- A 60 watt lightbulb kept on over a week costs about $1.
- Running a vacuum costs 17 cents per hour.
- Doing 5 loads of laundry costs about 20 cents

How much energy is wasted by Vampire Power?
Each American household has on average 20 - 40 devices that sap precious energy, even when not in use. Common offenders include desktop computers (33.5 Watts - $34 / year), microwaves (70 watt hours per day, enough to pop a bag of popcorn!) and even seemingly harmless rechargeable toothbrushes sap (1.4 watts / $1.50 per year).

It all adds up!
The average standby consumption of an American home in 2005 totals about $92 per month or the equivalent of one month's electricity bill.

Vampire energy is costing America about $4 billion per year and accounts for 1% of our global CO2 emissions!

What can we all do to reduce Vampire Energy?
- A smart power strip can cut the energy to multiple appliances with a single switch.
- The government backed Energy Star program tells you about appliances that use energy more efficiently and reduce total standby power consumption by over 70%.
- If we all followed this advice, we could reduce CO2 emissions by 0.5%, which is the equivalent of removing 18 million cars from American roads.