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Gadgets Get Efficient, But Does It Matter?

3/28/2011 2:08:38 PM

Tags: energy efficiency, energy-efficient appliances, consumer electronics, U.S. Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey, residential energy use, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailMost home appliances have become more efficient over the past 30 years, but those gains have been offset by the influx of personal computers, televisions and related devices, according to data released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In the latest update to its Residential Energy Consumption Survey, which is has updated periodically since 1979, EIA found that:

  • 76 percent of the 114 million U.S. homes had at least one computer, 8 percent more than just four years prior; 35 percent had multiple computers.
  • 44 percent of all U.S. homes had three or more televisions. Screen size and average energy consumption per television continue to grow.

The bottom line? Our “needs” for the latest gadgets elevates our energy consumption, even with the onslaught of energy-efficient appliances in recent years. Our behaviors and actions will make the most difference. Natural Home offers the following simple tips for lowering yours:

1. Buy Energy Star computers, appliances and power adaptors, which can consume half the electricity of standard models.

2. Fully shut down your printer and computer when not in use. (“Sleep” uses standby energy.) Plug them into an easy-to-reach power strip so you only have to do it once.

3. Reduce. How many phones and remote controls do you need?

4. Unplug stuff you don’t use.

5. Unplug the charger. Remove battery-powered rechargeable devices from their docks when fully charged. A charger without a device attached still pulls electricity.

phone charger 

Unplugging the phone charger from the wall once the phone has charged can make a difference in your energy use.

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