How to Keep Your Home Electricity Use Down (While Still Enjoying Your Favorite Gadgets!)

By Denise Durrett

Quick! Do a mental scan of your house or apartment and guess the number of products you have that are continuously drawing power. Well, the typical home has 40! Quite a few of these products are consumer electronics—and they may be eating up a larger chunk of your energy bills than you think.

Energy used for consumer electronics and small appliances has increased by 20 percent since 2005— and TVs and PCs account for a lot of that increase. In fact, the largest high-resolution TVs can use as much electricity as a new conventional refrigerator. Just over 20 years ago, the average American home had two TV sets. Today, more than half of homes have three or more TVs. Add the fact that many of those old TVs are replaced by big, flat-panel versions that use double the energy, and you can start to see the energy use pile up. This increased energy use means an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in our environment, which contributes to the effects of climate change.

Looking to trim your energy bills? Try these tips:

  1. Choose ENERGY STAR. You can find the ENERGY STAR label on products in over 60 different categories for your home, including electronics and office equipment. Visit energy star for TVs recognized as ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient. These are the most efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR and represent the leading edge in energy efficient products.
  2. Use a powerstrip. Plug electronics and computer equipment into a power strip with an on/off switch and turn it off when you are not using the products.
  3. Sleep is good! Activate power management features on computers and monitors to place them in a low-power sleep mode after a set time of inactivity to reduce power consumption.
  4. Turn it off. Turn off computers and monitors if you will be away for more than two hours. It doesn’t harm your computer and will save energy.
  5. Laptops are more efficient. If a laptop will meet your needs, choose one over a desktop. Laptops are 2.5 to 3 times more efficient than desktop computers.
  6. Visit energy star for the latest energy-saving news, products, and ideas for your home.

About the author: Denise Durrett is a communications team member with EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.