Don’t stand by as devices sap standby power

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You don’t have to spend thousands on a hybrid car or solar energy panels to achieve energy savings. You can cut power consumption by driving a stake into “vampire” power.

Even when they are turned off, many devices such as computers, DVRs, DVD players and microwaves use vampire power, the standby power that is sucked from an outlet while a device isn’t actually in use, says Christina Kielich, a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy, or DOE.

The energy-sapping can add up. “The average amount that people waste in their homes is between 5 (percent) and 10 percent,” Kielich says. The average household spends about $2,200 per year on energy consumption, according to the DOE. So you could save up to $220 per year by eliminating standby power.

Based on the findings of a 2010 study on standby power by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Bankrate has calculated the estimated annual cost to consumers for the electricity sapped by various home devices and offers ways to avoid it.