Count Something #3: Pennies & Sense

I love saving money and I’m not afraid to admit it. I suppose that’s what I get after years spent with my mom searching for the best grocery deals. That’s also why I’m so impressed with the line of smart, innovative, power saving devices that Belkin just released. Now you can plug any electric device into the Belkin Conserve Insight to get a reading on the amount of power, carbon and how much it costs to run your device. If I had one of these I’d be able to answer random questions (sadly, I do ask these):

Does running my AC unit at 25°C cost less than 23°C?
What does it cost to keep numerous devices plugged in when they are not in use?
Do old devices really cost more to run?

If the answer to the last question is ‘yes’ and the value is significant, I’d like to use this as leverage to upgrade a few ancient electronics (wouldn’t you?!).

According to research, an entertainment system on standby power is costing you an estimated $76 per year*. If that’s only one room in the home, imagine what all your standby devices are actually costing you. My mission for the day, count how many things I could unplug based on usage patterns in my home:

1. Phone Charger (~once a week – I use a Blackberry, which tends to hold a charge for about a week)
2. Electric Toothbrushes (while we use them a couple times a day – they can last for a week without being charged)
3. Printer / Scanner (~once a week)
4. Electric Kettle (~ three times a month)
5. Toaster (~once a week)
6. TV (we actually got rid of this completely)
7. Hot water heater (we actually just flip a switch whenever we want hot water)

What would you unplug?

*Details: Based on an entertainment system configured with a DVD player, VCR, video game console, subwoofer, and amplifier left on, but not active, for 19 hours per day at $0.117 cost per kilowatt hour. (Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration; U.S. Department of Energy; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and The Neilsen Company)


2 responses to “Count Something #3: Pennies & Sense

  1. Very interesting. I’ve recently make it my mission to reduce our monthly power bill and, wait for it…last month’s bill was down $30 from the previous month! Mission accomplished. Now, I’m obsessed with seeing how low I can get it. After reading your post, I’ve thought of a few additional things I leave plugged in for no other reason than convenience. For example:

    1) various lamps around the house
    2) ipod speaker
    3) coffee machine, and grinder sometimes too

    My new mission is to unplug some of the things we don’t use often and see if I can’t keep our power consumption low. Fun!

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