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Vampire energy: How to save energy and your batteries

By Laura Jane Schaefer

As part of Energy Awareness month, you might want to consider thinking about vampire (phantom) energy loads that might be around your home. Consider this image, which GOOD published back in 2007—it shows what a huge cost vampire energy can add up to be. While this image is based on data that is a few years old, not much has changed in terms of designing electronics. Many chargers have a small light to show when it's plugged. Microwaves, VCRs, and DVD players pull energy to display a clock that's rarely referred to or correct. And cell phone and laptops still pull energy from the wall even when the device is completely charged. 

It seems small when looked at on a hourly or daily scale, but when considering how much vampire energy is happening on a yearly basis it adds up! Some estimates say that up to 10% of the energy consumed in a home is a result of electronics on stand-by mode—that's almost $3 billion each year in the United States. We're on the right track though, AT&T has recently announced a new charger which not only conforms to the new global standardization, but will receive a five star energy efficiency rating. 

Aside from saving energy, unplugging electronics with batteries once they are fully charged actually extends the life of the battery! Just think, not only will you be saving those extra kilowatts, but you'll be putting off the cost of a replacement battery that much longer. 

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