Vampire Electronics Suck Your Cash
I have a friend. And her father used to be cheap. For example, he'd ask his wife to use as few pieces of toilet paper as possible after going to the bathroom. However, along comes the environmental movement (which, by the way, we're all for), and instead of being cheap, now her dad is just "green". He's saving paper! But what does this have to do with the evil love-child of vampires and electronics?
A big part of being environmentally friendly is cutting out excess use of paper, plastics, electricity, and more. This is good for the environment, and saves you money (both great things). But as much excess as you cut out (e.g., fewer pieces of toilet paper, shorter showers), there's a monster lurking in each and every one of your apartments and homes: VAMPIRE ELECTRONICS!!!!!!
What are these dastardly devices? A vampire electronic is pretty much any device that is plugged into the wall. You see, in order for electronics to turn on immediately when you hit the power button, they need to always have a current running through them. In addition, those really annoying red lights on the front of electronics also pull power.
Guess how much this excess power accounts for? The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that at least 5% of the average electricity bill results from vampire electronics while turned off, and this figure may rise to 20% by 2010. Other sources peg today's average at 10% of your electricity bill.
So what can you do? There are four easy ways to save on your monthly electricity bill (and be green!).
1) Simply unplug electronic devices (e.g., cell phone chargers, televisions, computers and more) when you aren't using them.
2) Consider grouping electronic devices into power strips depending upon frequency of use and usage habits. For example, plug everything in your entertainment center into one strip (e.g., TV, stereo, video game system, lamp). When you're watching tv, flip on the surge protector, and when you're not in the room, turn it off. Apply this to other areas of your house/apartment (e.g., home office).
3) Purchase a power strip that specifically limits the amount of electricity that flows through devices once they are turned off. One such device is the Smart Power Strip from SmartHomesUSA.
4) Purchase Energy-Star certified electronics that have power limiting features built in.
Of course, with options 2-4, if you don't already have power strips or Energy-Star appliances, then you'll have to spend some cash up front, but only you can determine whether or not (a) you just want to be green, and/or (b) you will actually save money in the long-run. On the other hand, with option #1, you can start saving right away and help the environment.
Even if you don't make changes now, keep this in mind for the next time you move apartments or have to buy a new appliance. You'll save cash and be a hero with the environmental lobby. And that lobby includes Susan Sarandon!