Save Money and the Planet!

Do you want to help the environment and save money?

This is a bit mundane for my usual writing style but recently I did something I’ve wanted to do for about five years – check the standby power on all my appliances.

Yes, yes, I know, I need to get a life, but I keep hearing these reports: “If everyone turned OFF their appliances instead of putting them in standby we’d save the Bengal tiger from extinction… or something.”

Being a technical type, I wanted to check this out.

Turns out I have a shed-load of stuff on standby. My PC, my monitor, my 8-unit Hi-Fi and TV, two other computers, router, modem, printer – it goes on and on.

What’s stopped me up until now was the lack of an easy way of measuring power.

Enter my local electronics store (Maplin) stage left. They sell a neat plug-in power meter for £15, so I grabbed one.

Okay, here’s the scoop…

My Hi-Fi and TV set-up takes a whopping 50W on standby! My PC takes another 15W when you add the router and speakers.

Without trying I found 100W of stuff on standby (which I’m now going to switch OFF instead).

Okay, 100W is just one old-fashioned light bulb, but… run it 24/7 and you clock up a massive one MILLION watt hours a year (approximately). That’s 1,000 KWhrs (‘units’ of electricity) and at 20p a unit, that’s £200 a year.

Okay not a fortune, but it’s still quite a lot.

If someone handed you £200 in cash each Christmas day, you’d be pleased.

Multiply this by 20 million households and you’ve got 2,000 megawatts of power (two Gigawatts!) to supply – just for people’s standby current!


So, bottom line is, they’re right. Turn OFF all that stuff you leave in standby, help save the planet and save yourself £200 a year.

I’m off to hug a tree.

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