I am always writing about the little things you can do to save a lot of energy in the long run. And yet it seems with all the advancements in technology and hardware we should be conserving a lot more power.
Suspicions were vindicated recently when information from a poll paid for by a grant to the AP-NORC Center from the Joyce Foundation shows that just 4 in 10 questioned think their own actions can significantly affect the country's energy problems.
While 15 percent of those polled say individual actions make "a very large difference" only 7 percent say individual action makes no difference at all. And despite our almost monthly reminders only 1 in 3 reports knowing a lot or a great deal about the government's Energy Star product labels.
And not even 20 percent know a lot or a great deal about rebates for energy-saving products home renovation tax credits or home energy audits.
About 6 in 10 people cite lack of knowledge about energy-saving products as a major reason they don't do more to conserve.
So what can you do to push the efficiency of those already energy-saving appliances further?
Eliminate sources of "standby power." While standby power sometimes provides useful functions such as remote control clock displays and timers the average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices while they are off (or in standby mode).
To slay these energy vampires in your house:
Enable the ENERGY STAR power management settings on your computer and monitor so they go into power save mode when not in use.
Use a power strip as a central "turn off" point when you are done using equipment which completely disconnects the power supply. You can use one for your computer and all peripheral equipment and another for your home electronics (TV VCR DVD stereo gaming).
Keep in mind though that if you've set a timer to wake up a product such as programming a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to record a program then the product must remain plugged in (and able to draw standby power) to function as intended.
Unplug your chargers: cell phone chargers camera chargers battery chargers or power adapters etc. These are drawing some amount of energy even when not in use (and even when not connected to an end-use product).
Look for ENERGY STAR when shopping. All ENERGY STAR qualified products are among the lowest power consuming in their category in standby mode.