Vampire Power and other enviro issues


So I was listening to the podcast of my new favorite show, Spark, and was intrigued by a segment on “vampire power“.

I’m sure this concept is neither new nor earth-shattering news-wise, but I’d never really heard it summed up before.  So essentially, when we’re talking vampire power we’re talking all the bits of electricity our gadgets use while not being used.  For example, in order for your t.v. to turn on with a remote, some power is always being used for the sensor.  Or the clock on your stove or microwave is always on.

At first the amounts seem small – what’s a kW here and there, right?  Well, according to the estimate I heard a host of electronics most people have – t.v., microwave, clock, stove – chews up about $5 worth of electricity annually.  In my book that’s a beer.  Not a huge savings, but a savings nonetheless.

Of course when I got home I thought about all the gadgets I have that are sucking my power and here’s the list I came up with – 3 digital clocks, electric shaver, cable modem, router, wireless router, t.v., dvd player, receiver, microwave, stove, desktop compy and laptop (which I leave on), and a plug-in air freshener.

So, what is someone who wants to be eco-friendly (and cost conscious) do?  Why, turn them off, of course.  The biggies are leaving your computers on, especially the laptop.  There is no reason, other than sheer laziness and impatience, for me to keep both my computers up while I sleep or am at work.  I bet I can wait the extra minute it takes to start-up.  I’ll also be unplugging that silly air-freshener, shaver, and extra clock in our spare room.  And, when I’m headed away for a weekend I’ll take the 10 seconds to flip off a couple powerstrips that control most other stuff.

There, I saved the planet.  Or at least a few bucks.

To learn more about vampire power check out the podcast, and you can look into fun kW monitors.

In other enviro news, a story I wanted to post a while back on China banning plastic bags.  This has been another one of my “enviro small steps” I’ve been trying to take – bring cloth bags for shopping all the time.  I’m having mixed success, due mainly to my absentmindedness.

But at least I’ve stopped clubbing baby seals on a daily basis!


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6 responses to “Vampire Power and other enviro issues”

  1. Dan Misener says :

    Hi Ben. Dan from Spark here. Thanks so much for listening, and for the mention. Glad to hear Spark’s your new favourite show. It’s long been my favourite show, but I’m a bit biased :)

  2. Ben says :

    Thanks for stopping by, Dan. Does this mean I’m famous? I should probably get an agent, just to be safe…

  3. Humberto says :

    Boy oh boy! I sure can’t wait to sink my teeth into that podcast!


    I’ve got nothing else.

  4. Ben says :

    Ow, you broke my punny bone!

  5. jimsey says :

    wait, clubbing baby seals is bad for the environment?

  6. Lachlan says :

    That savings may total up to a beer sure. But think how many more beers you can drink in the time saved that this vampire power has given you. Gimme more vampire power dammit.
    I’m more interested in frankenstein power – that’s the power expended when one of the other devices (like a remote) doesn’t fucking work and you go on a rampage smashing shit, until you finally need to use your vacuum cleaner to clean it all up. How much does that cost you per year?

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