The vampire of energy efficiency, plug loads matter
By Jeffrey Swofford, Ecova
Jeffrey Swofford is a research analyst at Ecova.
Energy efficiency is important for the U.S. It can help us meet our future energy needs while we develop new, low-carbon energy sources in parallel.
There is no silver bullet to our energy and climate problems. Instead, what we need is a quiver of arrows that can each help reduce our carbon impact. I like to think of energy efficiency as one of those arrows. This particular arrow, however, is almost always accurate, dependable and cost-effective.
What are plug loads? Plug loads are devices and appliances that are powered via AC plug sockets in buildings. You’ve got plenty of them around your home and office. We have more gadgets in our daily lives than ever before ― and with more gadgets comes more energy use. Even as a loyal Sustainable Business Oregon reader, your business likely has a few plug loads lying around that aren’t so energy-friendly, right? In this series of posts, I’m going to write about why that matters more than ever before.
Heard of vampire power? The concept refers to energy use that occurs in standby mode, when a device is switched off but still plugged in, slowly bleeding out energy.
Standby power is a huge issue that the efficiency community is trying to tackle across a number of types of appliances. It just does not make sense for a device to use a chunk of energy when you are not using it, but it’s not that simple. Several of our favorite gadgets have things like LED indicators that remain powered on even when we aren’t using the device. Arguably the worst vampire in your home is the cable set-top box — one of the topics I’ll cover in my next post.
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