Energy Saving Tips

Reducing Home Electronics Energy Use

In addition to looking for the ENERGY STAR label when purchasing new electronics products, there are several steps you can take to minimize the energy used by the electronics in your home now.

Unplug It. The simplest and most obvious way to eliminate power losses is to unplug products when not in use. For example, unplug chargers for your portable devices when the product isn’t being charged.

Use a Power Strip. Plug home electronics and office equipment into a power strip with an on/off switch. This will allow you to turn off all power to the devices in one easy step. Look for power strips with a remote switch and you no longer need to have the power strip and the clutter of cords in an easy-to-reach and visible location. Once the power strip is turned off, no power will be delivered to the outlets, thereby eliminating power wasted by power supplies. One caveat: home entertainment equipment such as TVs, cable and satellite boxes, and DVRs will need to be reprogrammed or given time to reboot and download information when turned back on. Many new power strips come with two or three “always on” outlets allowing you to maintain power to devices you do not want to power off completely. Alternatively, you can plug these devices into a separate strip and only turn them off when you plan to be away for more than a few days.

Use a Power Meter. Inexpensive power meters are now available that can accurately gauge power consumption even at very low power levels (see “Understanding Energy Use in Your Home”). These devices can help you root out the main culprits in your home’s electronics collection and identify opportunities for savings.