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Energy Tip -May 15, 2013

Some simple measures to save on your electric bill

Televisions, DVD players, and computers are common household devices that can use a lot of electricity, even when turned off. Some older TVs, for instance, can use up to 40 percent of the full “on” power when turned off.

The easiest way to reduce electricity that is being used by these electronic devices is to unplug them when you don’t need them. No additional purchases or special tools are required—just a willingness to be vigilant. Controlling them with a convenient outlet strip can make it easier; a “smart” outlet strip will turn off peripherals (DVD players, games systems) when a primary device (TV) is turned off. “Surge suppressor” outlet strips will provide a margin of protection for electronic equipment. Because some older electronics (e.g., digital alarm clocks) may require re-programming, you may want to be selective about what you turn off.

A study of Minnesota homes found that an average of 300 to 600 kWh per year of savings opportunities per home can be achieved by no- or low-cost means such as:

  • enabling computer power management
  • manually unplugging devices that draw standby power when not in use
  • manually turning off devices that are left on when not in use
  • using “smart” power strips to eliminate standby power consumption of peripherals when the main device is turned off
  • using timers to eliminate electricity use by devices that are only used at certain times of the day

Computer power management was identified in the study as having the greatest savings potential. Simply adjusting the power management mode for your computer can save up to 300 kWh of electricity a year; at a rate of 12 cents per kWh, you could save up to $36 a year.

The full study is available at “Electricity Savings Opportunities for Home Electronics and Other Plug-In Devices in Minnesota Homes.” (.pdf) Also, check out the Division of Energy Resources’ “Appliances, Lighting, Electronics” (.pdf) consumer guide for a range of energy conservation information.

Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Email the division’s Energy Information Center or call 800-657-3710 with energy questions.