Electronics Energy Use: How Much are Your Gadgets Costing You?

If you like computers, large screen TVs and other gadgets, you are not alone. The average American household contains 24 electronic devices, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While these devices can be expensive to purchase, they also cost homeowners on their electric bill. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that consumer electronics account for 15 percent of total household electricity use. 

How much are you spending to power your household gadgets? The Electronics Energy Calculator from the Consumer Electronic Association can tell you. Just enter the type and amount of electronic devices your household contains and the number of hours they are used—the calculator will estimate your annual cost and compare your electronics energy use to the average home. 

Energy-saving measures

If your electronics energy use is higher than average, consider the following energy-saving strategies:

  • Turn off equipment when it is not in use.
  • Do not rely on screen savers to save energy.
  • Watch out for phantom loads. Many electronic devices such as DVD players, TVs, computers and stereos continue to draw power when they are switched off. Unplugging these devices or using a power switch to cut all power when they are not in use can avoid phantom loads.
  • Put your computer to sleep. Activate power management features on all computers.
  • Unplug battery chargers for electronic devices when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.

The next time you go shopping for electronic devices, be sure to purchase models that are ENERGY STAR certified for energy-efficient performance. ENERGY STAR products use substantially less energy than standard models.

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