Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Residential Energy Savers: Electronics Tips

Home electronics account for almost 15% of the energy usage in the average home. That’s a larger share than ever before. Because they have such an impact on your energy usage, and bill, it is important that you make smart decisions about the models you buy and the ways that you use them.

Explore the tips below for free and low-cost ways to reduce their usage, as well as smart decisions you can make when choosing new electronics.

No-Cost Tips

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Put your computer to sleep

Screensavers do not save energy and are no longer necessary for extending screen life. Instead, save energy when you’re away by turning it off or enabling the power saving mode on your computer. If you’re using the power saving settings (See your owner’s manual for help) set the computer to go into sleep or hibernate mode after 20 minutes of no activity.

You’ll save energy and extend the life of your computer.

Savings: up to 125 kWh* per bill, about $77 per year

Cost: FREE

* For the average non-ENERGY STAR desktop computer, when turned off for 12 hours per day as compared to being on for 24 hours a day. Savings are less for ENERGY STAR qualified models and laptops.

Vanquish the vampires

In a typical home, household electronics use more power when they're turned off but still plugged in than when they're in use. Any device that has a clock or a remote control draws power continuously unless unplugged. To conserve this power, simply unplug them or turn off the power strip they're plugged in to when they're not in use.

Savings: up to 70 kWh* per bill, about $43 per year

Cost: FREE

* Savings will vary based on the number of devices you unplug and the wattage they draw when in standby mode.

Unplug chargers and adapters

The power adapters that charge mobile devices such as cell phones, music players and portable game consoles continue to draw power even when you remove the fully charged device. To eliminate this energy waste, be sure to unplug the chargers or turn off the power strip they’re plugged in to when you remove the device.

Savings: varies

Cost: FREE

* Savings will vary based on the number of chargers you unplug and the wattage they draw when in standby mode.

Tune down your TV display

Most televisions are shipped from the factory with the screen at it's brightest setting which isn’t needed for optimal viewing at home. To save energy and improve the picture quality dim the screen using the TV’s settings (see owner’s manual).

Savings: up to 42 kWh* per bill, about $26 per year

Cost: FREE

* For the average non-ENERGY STAR qualified television

Low-Cost Tips

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Use a Smart Strip

Instead of just a standard power strip, use a smart strip to control home electronics such as media centers and computer stations. Strips are available that either turn outlets on and off on a timer, via occupancy sensors or by designating one device (such as the TV or computer) as the control device and switching off everything else when the control device is turned off.

Smart strips are available from most electronics and home improvement stores and make vanquishing the power vampires in your home easy, saving you time and money.

Savings: up to 70 kWh* per bill, about $43 per year

Cost: FREE

* Savings will vary based on the number of devices you unplug and the wattage they draw when in standby mode.

Smart Investment Tips

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Pick a laptop over a desktop

If you’re shopping for a new computer, consider purchasing a laptop instead of a desktop. Aside from all the convenience of a portable computer, they also use 75-90% less energy than a desktop. Because they’re designed to efficiently use batteries, laptops use less power to operate and come with pre-programmed energy-saving settings that put them to sleep or hibernate mode more often.

Savings: up to 125 kWh* per bill, about $77 per year

Cost: FREE

* When compared to a non-ENERGY STAR desktop computer without energy-saving settings enabled.

Choose an ENERGY STAR computer

Energy usage is an important consideration when purchasing a new computer. An ENERGY STAR labeled laptop or desktop computer uses as much as 70% less electricity than computers without this designation.

Visit ENERGY STAR for a list of qualified models.

Savings: up to 125 kWh* per bill, about $77 per year

Cost: FREE

* When compared to a non-ENERGY STAR desktop computer without energy-saving settings enabled.

Buy ENERGY STAR home office equipment

When you’re in the market for new office equipment such as printers, faxes, scanners, choosing an energy efficient model is a smart choice. Office Equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR helps save energy through special energy-efficient designs, which allow them to use less energy to perform regular tasks, and automatically enter a low-power mode when not in use.

For more information, visit ENERGY STAR.

Savings: up to 50 kWh* per bill, about $31 per year

Cost: varies

* When compared to non-ENERGY STAR qualified models.

Buy ENERGY STAR televisions

Are you considering upgrading to an LCD or plasma television? LCDs and plasmas use significantly more energy than older televisions so it’s important to choose an ENERGY STAR qualified model. ENERGY STAR qualified TVs use about 30% less energy than standard units and you can find the ENERGY STAR on everything from standard TVs, to HD-ready TVs, to the largest flat-screen plasma TVs.

For more information, visit ENERGY STAR.

Savings: up to 60 kWh* per bill, about $37 per year

Cost: varies

* When compared to non-ENERGY STAR qualified models.