Vampire power costs Americans $19 billion in electricity every year
Treehugger, May 12, 2015. Image credit: OpenClips
A new report from the National Resource Defense Council states that Americans are spending $19 billion a year in electricity costs from vampire appliances and electronics. That comes down to $165 per household on average, but could cost as much as $440 per household under top-tier rates. The annual power usage is equal to the output of 50 large power plants and an equal amount of emissions.
“One reason for such high idle energy levels is that many previously purely mechanical devices have gone digital: Appliances like washers, dryers, and fridges now have displays, electronic controls, and increasingly even Internet connectivity, for example,” says Pierre Delforge, the report’s author and NRDC’s director of high-tech sector energy efficiency. “In many cases, they are using far more electricity than necessary.”
Two major offenders that we’ve discussed before are TV cable boxes and video game consoles. Cable boxes are the second largest energy user in many people’s homes because they are always running even when they are turned off thanks to spinning hard drives, program guide updates and software downloads. Video game consoles can be major power hogs and the systems’ stand-by modes leave much to be desired. Many users are reluctant to shut them off completely because restarting them can take such a long time when updates have to be installed.