Home electronics: plug into energy savings

From gaming consoles to tablets to your family computer, your home is likely filled with a variety of electronic devices. While these gadgets and gizmos make your life easier and more fun, they can also account for a large chunk of your energy usage. The constant advancement of technology and our need to be plugged in 24/7 means that we’re using even more electronics – and even more electricity.

It can be easy to reduce the amount of energy your devices use. Keep reading to find out how to start saving.

Standby power

Even when they’re turned off, plugged-in electronics can still draw a small amount of electricity. This “leaking” of electricity is called standby power and can account for up to a whopping 10% of your home’s electricity use!

While some devices like your PVR rely on a small amount of power to function properly and record your favourite shows, most home electronics don’t need this steady stream of electricity. Here are a few ways you can reduce standby power:

• Unplug electronics and small appliances such as computers, TVs and coffee makers when they’re not in use. Better yet, plug them in to a simple power bar. Power will be cut to these devices when you turn the power bar off.

• Unplug your cell phone charger once your device is fully charged or when the charger is not in use. Chargers may draw electricity even when the device it’s charging is removed. Up to 50% of the electricity drawn by a charger is wasted as heat.

• Maximize your savings by using a smart power bar. With a smart power bar, you plug the primary device, such as a TV or computer, into the master socket. When the primary device is turned off, the smart power bar cuts power to all associated devices that are plugged into the other sockets, such as gaming consoles, DVD players, receivers and printers. Turn off the primary device and all other devices get turned off automatically.

Buying new electronics

With lots of great deals on electronics this holiday season, you may be thinking about buying a new TV or computer. Be sure to consider your energy bill and the environment when making your purchase.

The best way to make sure you’re buying an energy efficient product is to check for the blue ENERGY STAR® logo. ENERGY STAR certified electronics are up to 50% more efficient than conventional models and use up to half as much standby power.

What about those old electronics you don’t want anymore? Electronics contain metals and other materials that can’t go in your regular everyday garbage. In fact, many of these components, such as plastic and glass, can be recycled. Visit recyclemyelectronics.ca/mb to find a recycling depot near you.

Other quick tips

• Use an automatic car timer. Even on the coldest nights a block heater only needs to be turned on three hours before starting your car.

• Turn on your television’s power saving mode to reduce energy consumption by adjusting the screen’s brightness.

• Set your gaming console to standby mode when not in use. When left idle, the average gaming system can use up to 90 watts of power and cost you an extra $60 in electricity each year.

• Try not to use screen savers. Screen savers use the same amount of power as an active screen. Instead, use your computer’s power management feature to turn off the monitor after a certain period of inactivity.

For more information on how to save energy and money, visit hydro.mb.ca/your_home.