Green Tips: Power down and save |

Green Tips: Power down and save

Marie Hedrick / Green Tips
Winter Park, CO Colorado

Did you know that even when you aren’t using an electronic device, such as a television, it continues to consume electricity?

According to the International Energy Agency, the U.S. spends almost $11 billion annually on electricity lost to what is referred to as a phantom load or standby power. The average American home consumes about 50 watts of standby power an hour. Globally, standby power consumption is estimated to be responsible for about 1 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Here are some clues to identify some of your energy suckers: appliances with remote controls, such as TVs, VCRs and audio equipment; devices with continuous digital display – like glowing clocks on stoves; devices with rechargeable batteries, such as cordless phones and computers (which use energy even after batteries are charged); and appliances with external power supplies, such as inkjet printers and iPod chargers.

Phantom loads are an example of how small things can add up over time. Remember, too, small steps can make big changes. Below are some simple steps to save energy used by phantom loads and reduce your carbon footprint.

• Unplug when not in use. If your devices (i.e. TV/computer/stereo/etc) are plugged into a power strip, unplug the power strip.

• Use the official “off” switch. Putting your computer into “sleep” mode does save electricity but the device is still sucking power and it needs to be turned off to stop energy use.

• Check out the new, smart power strips (Eco Strip and iGo Power Tower are two examples) that actually stop the flow of power to your devices when they are done charging or are turned off so you don’t have to remember to turn off or unplug the strip. If you are going to use regular power strips, make sure to unplug them, or pull out the charger.

– Marie Hedrick is the owner of Dancing River Consulting and a certified Green Consultant. To learn more go to or email her at

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.