We’re a society of consumers, and energy is no exception. Our gadgets gobble more energy than ever before, but the average consumer doesn’t really know how to conserve it beyond unplugging and powering down.
Why should you care? Beyond the obvious environmental impacts, energy-hungry devices could have an impact on your bank account. To estimate how much an appliance costs you to use daily, multiply the wattage of the device by hours per day the device is used, and divide that number by 1000:
(Wattage × hours used per day) ÷ 1000 = Daily kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption
To determine how much that device is costing you per year, simply multiply this number by the number of days the device is used. Wattage of a device can usually be found on the back of most appliances, but as a baseline, most standard small appliances in the United States use 120 volts, while larger appliances use 240 volts. The Department of Energy also provides a helpful list of typical wattages of common devices.
You’ll also want to factor in that most appliances continue to consume small amounts of energy while plugged in, even when switched off. To save the most, it’s always a good idea to unplug appliances, or use an AC adapter on a power strip that can be turned off, such as the TrickleStar power strip that claims to pay for itself. Leaving a desktop (which consumes more energy than a laptop) on all the time does not increase the life of the device, so powering off is perfectly within reason. Also remember using power management settings on a computer will save more energy than using a screen saver (which doesn’t save any).
If you want to enjoy technology, without continuing to pay top dollar just to use it, consider these energy-saving technologies and eco-friendly devices instead.