Editorial: Unplug your electronics
It used to be that the old beer fridge, chugging away in the basement at all hours, was your home's biggest energy hog.
And sure, if you have an old beast whirring and humming away, it would be wise to unplug it and save your bucks.
But there's a new consumer of energy in your home — electronics — and you may be surprised to learn how much your cell phones, PVRs, computers and other gizmos are costing you.
BC Hydro has been increasing their educational programming, through their website and at trade shows, encouraging customers to use less power. And one way is to properly monitor just how much your electronics are driving up your Smart Meter.
While unplugging that old fridge can save you up to $85 a year, properly plugging in your gadgets has the potential to save you more than $100 a year.
Just your PVR alone is costing you more than your average refrigerator. BC Hydro suggests hooking up your television, DVD, PVR, VCR and surround system to one power bar, and simply clicking the entire thing off when it's not in use.
"Phantom load" is upping your the cost of your hydro bill, whether you're home or away, sleeping or awake. Standby power can increase your annual bill by as much as 10%.
If hydro companies could convince everyone in Canada to reduce their products that use standby power, they could power up to 400,000 homes, and emissions reductions would be equivalent to taking a large coal-fired power generating unit offline.
All you have to do to is unplug the things you aren't using. If we could learn as a society to turn off the lights when we leave the room, surely we can learn to click off the electronics, too.
Finally, BC Hydro's green team suggests reading a book, and going for a bike ride instead of watching TV at all — the ultimate unplugged experience.