Energy Saver Trick-or-Treat Guide: 5 Myths Debunked

on October 31, 2014 at 12:00 PM

2013 Consumer Electronics Show Highlights Newest Technology

Do you prefer to save energy because it benefits the climate or your wallet? Or perhaps you’d rather stay in the dark. Do not be tricked and kick your standby habit at home. Our ‘digital economy’ – with billions of networked devices such as smart phones, tablets and set-top boxes – demands increasing amounts of electricity. In this respect, the IEA shares the following outlook:

“In 2013, a relatively small portion of the world’s population relied on more than 14 billion of these devices to stay connected. That number could skyrocket to 500 billion by 2050, driving dramatic increases in both energy demand and wasted energy. Being connected 24/7 means these information and communication technology (ICT) devices draw energy all the time, even when in standby mode.”


 halloweenSource: UK Department of Energy & Climate Change 

Below you will find listed the DECC’s top five energy waster categories mired in the common ‘energy saving’ myth. See whether you, too, were tricked and, if so, what to do about it:

#1: Computer Screensavers are actually just programs that consume energy. Remember the cool screensaver application that is constantly shuffling, looping and showing your pictures? You can do better than that. Treat yourself by turning off your monitor and/or your entire desktop computer – if you still possess one. This is the most effective way to save energy and thus save on your energy bill.

#2: Television sets and their set-top boxes, laptops, game consoles and phone chargers do actually suck up electricity when not in use even though it is difficult to gauge how much energy devices in standby mode use. The British DECC estimates that everyday gadgets and network-enabled devices – greetings to the ‘Internet-of-Things’, a global network of connected people and devices – left in standby mode cost the average household up to 86 British Pounds per annum. Moreover, consider the following IEA information: “[S]ome Internet-connected TVs draw in the region of 30 W[att] when actively used and 25 W when not actively used, and set-top boxes (variations depending on type) draw around 16 W when actively used and 15 W when they power down. (…) Studies show that for (…) game consoles, up to 80% of the energy consumption is used just to maintain a network connection.” Therefore, do not opt for the easy and lazy option. Just switch the devices off when not in use.

Electricity Wasters



#3: Contrary to popular belief, the amount of energy used by home appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers or washing machines can indeed be reduced.

All it takes is adjusting the settings – i.e. by avoiding to use the coolest setting on, for example, your refrigerator and understanding that not leaving the door open for too long – the more ‘hot’ that air gets in, the more energy required to cool it down again – will eventually delight your wallet. Also, check the energy rating (Energy Star) before buying new appliances.

#4: LED light bulbs will not cost you more because “a single LED bulb lasts around 50 times longer than a traditional light bulb,” according to the UK’s DECC. Read more light bulb energy use coverage on Breaking Energy: “Energy Use of a 100-Watt Light Bulb per Year by Source.”

#5: Switching energy suppliers may make sense in individual cases. However, do your research before shopping around for your energy. You do not want to squander all your new energy savings by paying a higher utility bill.

So, in order to steer clear of scary energy bills simply switch your devices/appliances off completely when not in use. Happy Halloween!