Unplug unused electronics, save energy

IMPACT – Why should you invest your time in this service project?

Standby power, or vampire power, is the electric energy sapped from any appliance or electronic device that is plugged in, but NOT turned on or in use. While this vampiric power may seem inconsequential, it certainly adds up per person each day. In fact, the National Resource Defense Council claims that on average, Americans spend roughly $20 billion per year on standby power, which equates to the use of about 50 power plants. However, even though standby power can be financially costly as a whole, it may not be terribly detrimental to the individual wallet. Nevertheless, that still doesn’t mean that unplugging unused devices cannot have sizable gain, particularly for the environment, as well as your peace of mind.

All this vampiric energy requires the use of power plants, which in turn creates carbon emissions (there are about 9,700 coal power plants in the United States alone); and so, curbing the frivolous use of standby power when unplugging unused appliances could aid in healing the planet. Furthermore, this standby power from TVs, game consoles, microwaves, and other devices create what is known as Low Frequency Noise. This LFN can have a psychological impact on a person living amongst this noise in their own home. In short, that low electronic hum, or din, that you don’t notice exists until your power goes out can, on a small scale, like sleeping with a mosquito, can have adverse effects on your peace of mind. During these times of quarantine it may not be a bad idea to practice unplugging unused electronic devices because you may find that maybe you have too many unnecessary appliances, or that you can save a few bucks a month, or even that you sleep better at night.


Use power strips for similar/related devices (i.e. TV, cable box, game console; microwave, coffeemaker, toaster), then practice powering off those devices when not in use. Record data from your electric bill and see if there is an impact.


Monitor your electric bills to see if there’s been a noticeable impact. You’ll be surprised!

Resources & Examples

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