UK Study Finds Vampire Energy Bloody Costly

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

For those of you who love to waste money and energy, ignore the following: Unplug your electrical devices when not in use! Keeping gadgets plugged in sucks electricity out of your home and money from your wallet.

It’s the same old song and dance, but another study. This one, out of the UK, has found vampire energy to be more costly and wasteful than previously thought. The study, “Powering the nation- household electricity using-habits revealed,” showed that households could be spending around £50 to £86 ($81 to $140)per year on appliances that are turned off, but still plugged in. As a nation, standby power seems to account for 9-16% of all domestic power demand!

So, think long and hard if you actually need all your cell phone/laptop/camera chargers plugged in tonight.

Source: Earth Techling
Image:  Carpathian Prince via Shutterstock

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book

Holiday Wish Book Cover

Click to download.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

6 thoughts on “UK Study Finds Vampire Energy Bloody Costly

  • A quick rule of thumb is to multiply the standby power by 10 to obtain the kWh per year. A game console that consumes 10 W in standby is thus responsible for ~100 kWh per year.

  • where does this $1,340 come from ? I read £50 per year, which is much more reasonable.

    Please read this free book

    It argues well that vampire energy is not important. Every BIG helps. not Every little helps.


    • Pete_dl,

      An example:
      – central heating boiler: 7 W
      – set top box; 10 W
      – door bell transformer: 4 W
      – (old) tv: 3 W
      – game console: 9 W
      – internet modem: 9 W

      3 W doesn’t seem like a lot, neither does 7 W, but there is also a 4, and a 10 and two 9’s.  The above list doesn’t seem unrealistic for an average household, many modern households have far more gadgets. Add all the items up and the total power draw is 42 W. Multiply by 7000 hours of non-use, and the result is an annual consumption of ~300 kWh. Nearly 10% of an average household. 10% is definitely significant.

      Don’t fall into the trap that small things don’t matter. The counterpoint is that small things come in large numbers. What might help you to understand is that the total biomass of termites is orders of magnitude greater than that of elephants.

      Prof MacKay’s book contains a lot of useful information, but he is definitely wrong on this one because he dismisses each ‘termite’ in isolation as negligible and doesn’t see the whole picture.

    • Pete, you are right. This is an incredibly badly written article and I doubt the author even read the original source. I assume they got the $1,340 figure from the blog post they are referencing (on Earth Techling). In that post the author writes “households spent up to £861 ($1,340) a year keeping appliances in a standby, or ‘non-active’, state”. This statement seems to be correct, just poorly written and unclearly stated. The author of this piece must have read the Earth Techling post, missunderstood the statement, not bothered to check the original source, and then quickly whipped up this article which misses everything.

      In the actual report it says that £859 is the upper limit of the yearly electricity bills for households which were included in the survey. This is not the cost of the electricity used for standby electronics, it is the total yearly electricity bill for the household. The average yearly bill was £530.

      Of the total yearly electricity bill, the report claims 9-16% was due to electricity usage of electronic devices in standby mode. This comes to an average of £50-86.

      The $2 billion yearly cost for non-active applicances was also stated in the Earth Techling post. While I can’t find any direct reference to that figure in the original report, it is widely reported around the internet and is probably correct. Assuming the maximum £86 per household per year in electricity cost for non-active devices, it would only take about 15 million households to reach £1.3 billion. If the yearly cost was £861 as claimed in this post, the annual cost would be closer to £13 billion.

  • $1,340 is more than twice my yearly electricity bill. 

Comments are closed.