Hidden power hogs

January 30th, 2013 by Gene

Most of us use quite a bit of electricity. Probably more than you think. We’ll count it up. Today, on Engineering Works.

It’s easy to think of big ways to keep down how much electricity we use. Compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of regular ones. Energy Star washers, driers and refrigerators. Programmable thermostats to use your heating and air conditioning efficiently. It all helps and more of us are using them.

But we’ll bet you’re wasting a lot of electricity, too. Little things. Laptops. Cell phone chargers. iPods. Game consoles. Power engineers estimate that these little power hogs make up 15-percent of household electric demand. And that’s expected to double in the next 20-years. Worldwide, it’ll take the equivalent of five-hundred-60 coal-fired power plants or two-hundred-30 nuclear plants, just to keep up with it.

Try this some time. Wait ’til it’s dark and turn out all the lights. Then start counting how many little green lights you find. You know, the little green LED that shows your computer or TV is on standby. The average American household has about 25. Each one of them is slurping up electricity.

You can cut some of this energy hogging by unplugging them when you’re not using them, or using smart power strips. Some of them just use a lot of electricity, like the cool new plasma and LCD TV sets. Some use more power than your refrigerator.

We’re unplugging our little green light and we’re gone. See you next time.

Engineering Works! is made possible by Texas A&M Engineering and produced by KAMU-FM in College Station. Learn more about engineering. Visit us on the World Wide Web. http://engineeringworks.tamu.edu

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