The Green Office: Save Big by Reducing Phantom Power Draws

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phantom power loadDid you know that your laptop, cell phone charger, computer monitor, and printer can draw electricity, even when they’re not turned on? This is also true of items around your home: your television, cable TV box, and other power tools. This is called Phantom Power, or sometimes Phantom Energy or Standby Power.

When some electrical items are plugged into a socket, they pull electricity even when they’re not turned on. This wastes electricity and increases your electric bill but doesn’t benefit you at all.

Discovery.com has a great article entitled “Save Energy by Avoiding Phantom Power” that is very helpful and includes links to other Green Living articles. They say that phantom power can account for as much as 10% of the electricity an office or home uses. Wow!

Here’s what we’ve done in our office to reduce the amount of phantom energy drawn:

  1. Put all items that draw phantom energy, like our laser printers, computer speakers, and computer monitors on a power strip, which we turn off each night.
  2. Unplug items we don’t use every day, like cell phone chargers.
  3. Pay attention when recharging items like laptops, and remove them from the charger when the battery is full (instead of leaving it on charge all night).
  4. Turn off items when not in use. For instance, I use my laser printer all the time, but only use my color printer occasionally. Why pull power for a color printer that I use once a week?
  5. Always look for energy-saving devices when replacing an item.

Here’s the key with running a Green Office: all these little items DO add up to big savings and a decrease on natural resources. It’s worth doing.

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