Monday, December 10, 2007

Hunting the Mythical Energy Vampire

For a little while now I have been showing you ways to save money but I haven't told you about the Energy Vampire. I say he is mythical but as an engineer I know he is very real. The vampire bat feeds on blood at night while animals sleep. The energy vampire feeds on you all day long. You can try to fight him with a cross and wooden stake but your best weapon is knowledge. Knowing how and where he feeds will allow you to hunt him down. It doesn't require high tech devices to locate his source of food but it can help.

Here is a energy monitor that might make a great geeky gift for a birthday or for the holidays.
Todays Price: $20.98 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

For a review:

What this device does is allows you to monitor the power consumption from devices that might leech electricity when turned off.

In the United States how much a product leaks has little relation to cost or features. The power consumption represents a arbitrary design based on how the system is engineered and in some cases based on a company saving as little as 25 cents. If you were shocked at the Chinese killing our pets and poisoning our kids in the US with lead or worse, do you think they will go the extra mile at a small additional cost to make energy efficient electronics? What about devices designed in the US or Europe? You educate yourself on many aspects of life. How about understanding the real hidden costs behind operating that Big screen TV or new gaming console.

Lets look at the TV for example. The average TV is turned on 4 hours a day. From the research I have done some TVs would use 180 kWh a year during use and 100 kWh when turned off. A competing model with comparable features would draw only 120 kWh per year while watched and as little as 5 kWh when off. A small amount of power is required to allow you to turn the TV back on via the remote.

A 100 watt load costs about $183.96 per year (TV or good sized computer monitor).
The costs mention are related to actual kilowatt usage. What most people don't understand that there is another layer of hidden costs. Energy used is dissipated in your house in the form of heat. In the winter time this is a good thing. In the summer it can be expensive. A CRT computer and monitor or Plasma TV can act like a heater. It is costing you energy when turned on and it costs you double the energy to cool the space it is heating. This is mainly because most cooling systems are only about 50% efficient.

Online power calculator:

A article from Microsoft on the question of turning off that PC. In short it is recommended that you hibernate or standby that PC. Hibernate powers down the PC while retaining the memory state by storing it to the hard drive. Standby gives the PC just enough power to keep the memory in its current state. Both of these methods allow you save power and keep you desktop applications open just as you left them the last time you were at the machine. You should always save unsaved work and you should consider security when it come to some applications if someone else awakens the machine.

You can find the complete article here:

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