The average home may have two TVs, a VCR, a DVD player, a CD player, a stereo, three telephones, and several battery chargers for cell phones, cameras, and other devices. Many home electronic products use energy when they're off to power features like clock displays, remote controls, and to provide "instant on" features. In fact, up to 40% of all the electricity used to power these home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Across the US, this equals the annual output of 17 power plants. If these products were replaced with ENERGY STAR models, it would save over 25 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent to taking over 3 million cars off the road. Electronics that have earned the ENERGY STAR label use as much as 50% less energy to perform these functions, while providing the same performance at the same price as less-efficient models. Less energy means you pay less on your energy bill.
Computer equipment is also a big user of electricity. Overall, ENERGY STAR labeled computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, copiers and scanners use about half as much electricity as standard equipment. An important part of an ENERGY STAR computer is a special power management feature that automatically puts the system into a low-power sleep mode when not in use; this feature reduces energy consumption by 80 percent. It's important to make sure the power management feature is enabled, especially if computers are left on for many hours of the day. Monitor power management (MPM) can save $10 to $30 per monitor annually by placing your inactive monitors into a low-power sleep mode. Computer power management (CPM) places inactive computers (CPU, hard drive, etc.) into a low-power sleep mode, which can save $15 to $45 per desktop computer annually.
If you are planning to purchase new home electronic equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR label to be sure that you are getting the most efficient product. That way you can not only save on your energy bill but you can also do your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. In addition to looking for the ENERGY STAR label, consumers should look for products that are more energy efficient. For example, a notebook computer uses only 20 percent of the energy a desktop model uses and a flat screen monitor uses less than half the energy of a standard monitor.
Finally, the best way to conserve energy with all existing home electronic equipment: turn it off. Computer equipment in sleep mode still draws electricity, so turn it off if not used for awhile. Other equipment, like TVs, VCRs, DVD players can be plugged into an outlet strip operated by a single switch. It may take a few moments to warm up, but the savings in energy can be significant. Consider having all your rechargeable devices plugged into the same outlet strip plugged into a timer switch. That way you can charge those batteries for a few hours every day instead of running electricity through the chargers continuously.