Traveling Green: Limit Phantom Energy Loss At Home

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Summer vacation time is approaching, and as you plan your travels it is also worthwhile to think about how you can minimize your negative environmental impact as well.

One simple step to take: buy power strips, plug your electronics into them, and switch the devices off while you are away from home.

Amazingly, your television will use more energy while turned off then while turned on. You read that right.

This is due to the wonderful invention of “instant-on” technology, which keeps your TV in a constantly warmed -up mode (by drawing a little power constantly) so that that when you switch it on you get instant gratification. The same phenomenon applies to most electronic devices, such as computers and printers in sleep mode, radios, CD and DVD players, VCRs, and the like. Chargers of all kinds also draw a little power constantly (you can feel the warmth in a cell phone charger, for example). This low, constant energy use is known as “phantom energy.”

When away from home for an extended period of time, you can save a lot of energy – and money – by limiting the phantom energy. Just make sure that your TV and other electronic devices and chargers are either unplugged – not just switched off – or connected to a power strip that can be switched off to cut power.

Stopping phantom power loss is part of taking a greener vacation, and you may be surprised by how much money you save.

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June 2011
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