Electricity That Sucks

Vampire power refers to the electricity electronic appliances and devices waste just by being plugged in, even when they’re switched off. Did you know that when you point your remote control at the TV to turn it off for the night, that appliance isn’t really off? In the middle of the night, at the witching hour, your TV, in standby mode, continues to suck power, like a sinister vampire draining electricity off the grid while you sleep blithely unaware.

This purely wasteful electricity consumption is said to amount to around 10% of residential use for the average American household. The good news is that the solution is very straightforward. By utilizing technological innovations that already exist, and changing some simple everyday habits, we can put a stake in the heart of this problem. This week on Sea Change Radio we talk with Maria Vargas who explains how the federal government’s Energy Star program is trying to raise awareness and promote more responsible energy consumption, and with Alan Meier, senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a faculty member at UC Davis and one of the foremost authorities on standby power.

While this broadcast focuses more on the progress being made by the Energy Star program, critics assert that the program’s binary “yes” or “no” system is less helpful to consumers than graded scale systems like in Europe – and also that the program certifies too many products.