Power saving strategies – truth or myth?

September 16, 2008 at 8:47 pm 1 comment

This post is about some of those suggestions that have floated around both the water cooler at work and on various blogs on the Internet.  The first one we are going to talk about is so called “vampire power”.

This is the supposed effect of all of those power adaptors around your house that are still plugged in after you have charged the device, like you laptop or cell phone.  Also it refers to all of those appliances and other electronic devices that we all have around our houses. I have seen various takes on this topic and I have my own opinions which I will share later.

On the power adaptor front first we have a page detailing someone’s testing of this theory and finding that in his case that these adaptors were not drawing any significant measureable energy. (http://theonda.org/articles/2008/03/09/mythbusting-vampire-power-suckers)

More important in my mind are those devices that we unconsciously leave on when we don’t need them.  I am thinking of your computer printer and your monitor, if you have one when you shut down your computer or take your laptop with you.  We can of course try and remember to turn these devices off or we could invest in a smart power strip that does it for us. (http://www.usnews.com/blogs/daves-download/2008/4/18/a-power-strip-that-kills-vampire-power.html).  This article does a good job of figuring out the cost benefit for purchasing one of these and the return is on the order of 2 years and that is pretty average return on investment for any energy saving measures.

If you are really into this kind of thing here are some other resources. The first on green home huddle (http://greenhome.huddler.com/wiki/how-to-reduce-vampire-power) has a pretty exhaustive list.  The other is here and includes a lot of information on how much you can save so you can better target your efforts: http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/vampire.html

Now if you are really trying to save a little money these strategies will be worthwhile in the long term as the cost in both time and effort is not cheap or inconsiderable.  This means that you will recover your investment on average in about 2 – 3 years time and there will be an on going cost to you in convenience, especially if you use the simpler and cheaper methods.  In this process more expensive solutions generally mean more automatic and hence more convenient. However if you are going to this effort thinking you are going to save the planet by reducing your carbon footprint you would be better off simply riding your bike or walking to the grocery store once a week.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: Environment, Technology. Tags: , , .

Cob Buildings – A new old green technology Turning off the lights – when does it make sense?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Allen Taylor  |  September 16, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

    Reply

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