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Chronicle GO GREEN: Switch off and save lots of cash; sponsored by Environment Agency.

Here Steve Emsley, one half of our Go Green couple, continues his diary about the process of going green. This week: Switching off standby to save pounds 65

OUR house seems to have quite a few electrical items with a standby position. This means we waste electricity and money when we leave them on standby, rather than turning them off at the wall. This week I decided to measure the standby electricity used, and I came up with a few surprises.

I borrowed a power monitor from a friend, which is a little meter you plug into a socket, then plug an item into it. You can buy these in electrical shops. It measures the power being used on standby, or full use. It didn't take long to measure and record all of our electrical goods.

I had thought standby meant one or two watts an hour being used. Wrong. Our worst waster was a DVD player and recorder constantly demanding 17 watts an hour on standby when we are not using it. It consumes about 80 watts an hour when fully on and that is only about three hours a week. It uses 12 times as much electricity, nearly three kilowatts a week, sitting on standby. That's like leaving a car engine running all night to have it ready for the morning.

The next worst offender was the computer and its pals at 16 watts standby. The little digital hi-fi is 13 watts an hour. Our household total of standby waste is around 60 watts an hour, or 525 kilowatts a year, costing pounds 65.

So from here on I want to turn off all items on standby. One or two mains switches are hard to get at, so I need some desktop extensions with off switches I can reach. Switching off standby can save us pounds 65 a year, a 20% reduction in our electricity bill and 20% less carbon emissions. I think we should invest that money in more low energy bulbs and save even more.

Now how many houses are there in the North East and how much energy could we save by this simple measure?


SURPRISE: Steve Emsley
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 9, 2007
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