How to save 8% on your electricity bill

Browse main article categories

turn-off-standby-reduce-carbon-footprintFor day 3 of the carbon fast we’ve been asked to wave bye bye to standby.

The advice reads “Address your “standby” habits. Unplug mobile phone chargers and any unused appliances. 8% of electricity consumed at home is from “vampire” appliances that we aren’t even using”.

As I’m big into watching my electricity consumption at the moment, this is something I’ll definitely be addressing. Although 8% of overall electricity consumption might not sound much, the collective impact of everyone wasting that amount is hugely significant. And if you don’t care about that, grab a calculator and work out 8% of your annual electricity bill. For me it’s a couple of weeks worth of shopping at my favourite organic farm shop!

Thanks to the Onzo monitor I’m using at the moment, we’ve discovered something quite startling. Not only that our shower room light fitting (which uses a transformer) was using 20 watts of power when switched on, even though the light bulb had blown! but that Little Miss Green’s ipod charger uses 6 watts of power even when the unit is fully charged. We discovered our cordless phones are using the same which gives me yet more ammunition to get rid of them (I’m concerned about EMFs), although Mr Green is firmly hanging onto them.

I’m pretty good with my mobile phone charger and the secret to success for me is to use the charger during the day so I can see when it needs unplugging. It’s all too easy and convenient to put things onto charge when you go to bed, but then they are left on for 8 hours unnecessarily. It’s a bit like having a thief in your house at night!

What I definitely need to brush up on is turning off the router and all other computer peripherals. I tend to leave them on all the time, so after doing a ‘normal week’ here at Chez Green to teach our new electricity monitor about our habits, this will be one of the first things I’m addressing.

What about you – any appliances or chargers you could turn off standby to help reduce your carbon footprint?

Here are some devices that can consume standby power:

Power supplies and transformers for computers, mobile phones and peripherals
DVD players and most audio systems
TVs, home cinema speakers and set-top boxes
Microwave ovens
Cordless phones and answering machines
Security systems and fire alarms
Door bells
Devices with “Instant on” functions, with remote control receivers, or waiting for the user to interact
Devices with a stand-by light or clock
Home video game consoles


  1. Small Footprints on March 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Awhile back we went through the house and switched off anything with a little timer in it or anything with a lighted panel. And then, everything else (except for the refrigerator, washer/dryer and stove) got put on power strips which we turn off when leaving the house, going to bed or when not in use. The statistic said 8% however … after one month of doing just that, we dropped our electricity bill by almost half. So that’s huge (and I’m feeling proud). 🙂

  2. I Thought I Knew Mama on March 11, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    This is so helpful! Thank you! I’ll be sharing this post with others.

  3. Mrs Green on March 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

    @Small Footprints: Wow, that is sensational – well done you. I was shocked to see on wikipedia that the average daily usage in the US was around 30kwh; would you agree with that?

    @I Thought I Knew Mama: You’re welcome, I hope your readers find it helpful 🙂

  4. Small Footprints on March 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Mrs. Green, yes I would agree with that … unfortunately! I’ve talked to some of my neighbors and found that, for nearly every person I talked to, their energy use is 4 times greater than mine. No matter what the weather, I hear HVAC units buzzing away … all the time, 24 hours a day. Over the holidays I traveled to a big city to visit my family … I was shocked at the number of people, in a small gated community, who leave outdoor lights on all night. And the number of office buildings with lights and equipment left on was staggering. Recently, in my town, a grocery chain applied for an exemption to our lighting ordinances … they are asking to be allowed to install lights which will illuminate their parking lot over double the allowed limit (that’s a lot of energy use). So yes, I think people in the US consume a lot of energy. We have a tremendous opportunity to improve!! I just hope that the opportunity will be taken to heart.

  5. Mrs Green on March 13, 2011 at 8:07 am

    @Small Footprints: Yes of course, Air Conditioning is not such a big thing over here except for shops and businesses. What I hear instead is tumble dryers working throughout the summer! But as you say, it’s an opportunity to improve… 🙂

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Or try our Site map and Tags

Featured posts

Five natural ways to cure Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

In Northern Europe, around 12 million people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms range from mild such as feeling a little…

Basic natural household cleaning kit

You’ve all been waiting patiently to begin making your own household cleaners. You know some of the nasties you want to avoid…

A natural homemade recipe for cough syrup using thyme, garlic, honey and sage.

Mother Nature bestows so many gifts upon us, providing all we could ever need for a long and healthy life; foods to…