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Old 04-13-2010, 05:39 PM   #1
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Are you LBYM enough for this?

I've got savings opportunities all over my house according to this story. Where to start, where to start...

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The energy-sapping can add up. "The average amount that people waste in their homes is between 5 (percent) and 10 percent," Kielich says. The average household spends about $2,200 per year on energy consumption, according to the DOE. So you could save up to $220 per year by eliminating standby power.
Based on the findings of a 2010 study on standby power by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Bankrate has calculated the estimated annual cost to consumers for the electricity sapped by various home devices and offers ways to avoid it.
Save first by going to sleep mode. Your desktop uses just $21 per year in sleep mode. A notebook computer uses almost $16 per year in sleep mode, Kielich says.
For even more savings, turn your computer off using a power strip if necessary. In the off mode, your notebook consumes almost $9 per year in electricity and a desktop computer takes dainty sips of electricity -- just $3 per year, Kielich says.
Today I'm starting to do this. Not sure yet what I'm going to do with the extra $9 next year at this time, but I have a year to think it over.

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TV set-top box DVR, about $37 per year when not recording or off;
Now we're talkin the big bucks.

Dont stand by as devices sap standby power
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:46 PM   #2
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I'm not ready to turn off my computers, but to compensate I'll unplug my DVD player. I never seem to watch DVDs anyway.
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:49 PM   #3
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I'm amazed when I walk through my house at night at all the little glowing lights and clocks--microwave, stove, thermostat, coffee pot, stove, cable box, video box, cell phone chargers, land line handsets, computers. There's a lot of sipping going on.
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:57 PM   #4
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Can we say penny wise and pound foolish?

In any case, turning things off (really turning them off) is sometimes a bad idea. Don't try it with your cable TV. You could miss out on software updates and TV guide info that are sent out at night. Our TV and DVD player receive software updates over the internet, and I imagine that these are timed for the wee hours.
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:36 PM   #5
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My home energy use is definitely less than $2200 /yr.
Have to go out to the meter at night after all is shut down and see what those little lights / stand bys are sucking.

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Old 04-13-2010, 06:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by IndependentlyPoor View Post
Can we say penny wise and pound foolish?

In any case, turning things off (really turning them off) is sometimes a bad idea. Don't try it with your cable TV. You could miss out on software updates and TV guide info that are sent out at night. Our TV and DVD player receive software updates over the internet, and I imagine that these are timed for the wee hours.
My DVD player and DVR also receive updates at night. I think this takes place about 3:00am.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:00 PM   #7
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Can we say penny wise and pound foolish?

In any case, turning things off (really turning them off) is sometimes a bad idea. Don't try it with your cable TV. You could miss out on software updates and TV guide info that are sent out at night. Our TV and DVD player receive software updates over the internet, and I imagine that these are timed for the wee hours.
Updates? TV guide? DVD software updates?

Might I guess that you haven't had bare bones basic cable TV for a while...?
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:08 PM   #8
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Home energy use for me and my roommate is about $700/yr. So $350/yr each. The majority of that is electrical powered heat. I think this is one of those extreme money saving tips which are pretty stupid for the most part. There are certain things that are really worth spending time on, and there are certain things which are nearly pointless. Really watching appliance standby use would likely net me $10-20/yr.

I do believe turning off your computer, when you can, is a good idea. Unlike other devices computers have a short lifespan, 4-8 years. When the power supply fails, it will likely fry other components. It isn't about electricity, it is more about the major wear+tear you are putting on your computer (and the pain of troubleshooting it when it dies early).
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:17 PM   #9
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Can we say penny wise and pound foolish?

In any case, turning things off (really turning them off) is sometimes a bad idea.
Yep, plus sometimes the savings are insignificant. Might be worth your while to buy one of these for $20 or so to see what sort of load those things you're pondering turning off actually draw.

BTW, while we were on our cruise last week I "totally" turned off the electric water heater, the HVAC system, three TV's and the computer. Our fancy new electric meter told me our electricity usage varied between $1.17 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) and $1.26 (Thursday and Saturday). For comparison, it was running between $4 and $5 per day the previous week.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:25 PM   #10
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Updates? TV guide? DVD software updates?

Might I guess that you haven't had bare bones basic cable TV for a while...?
Actually, we don't have cable TV at all. We get perfect HD reception with nothing more than rabbit ears. TV guide info also comes over the air for free. Whoohoo!

My info on cable updates comes from some friends who had trouble with their cable box. The tech told them to stop turning off their box at night because of the updates.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:29 PM   #11
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The last few years our annual bil has been between $1,300 and $1,700 and that depends very much on the weather as we electric heating as well as for AC.

However I also power off devices like the digital radio, HiFi and DVD player when not in use and rather than Sleep mode I put my laptop in Hibernate mode which saves a little more and is still quick to re-start.

I also utilize the batteries on my laptop to maximize battery life and minimize power consumption. We get up and go to the gym or bike ride or tennis first thing most mornings so my laptop is not usually taking any power until late morning. Then I use it on battery only until it is almost expired after 4 or 5 hours. I only fully charge the batteries overnight when it is powered down but plugged in.

But, savings like this are very small compared to having the thermostat set to maximize power savings.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:03 PM   #12
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I started turning off my power strip (that has the computer, screen, speakers, 2 lights & my cell phone charger) off when I spent the night (or a few days) at my BF's & noticed that the bill went down about $20 a month.

Also now unplugging my laptop brick after I close my laptop for the night. Here's to hoping that will net a bit more savings.

Now if I can get my roommates to do the same, we might have even more success.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:18 PM   #13
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I've been playing around with some engineering log reviews. I think that I need an insulated single-cup (12 oz) coffee machine.

The Kill-A-Watt on my 24-oz Mr. Coffee logged 4116 hours as of today, which is just under 172 days, or a bit shy of three months. In that three months the coffeemaker used 61.42 KWHrs, or 15 watts. Doesn't sound like much, does it?

However over the last three months we've consumed 376, 330, and 352 KWHrs. (This is consumption, not counting photovoltaic production.) So assuming rough monthly averages of 20 KWHrs for the coffeemaker and 350 KWhrs overall, the coffeemaker is nearly 6% of our consumption.

Considering that our net energy use over the last three months was 140, 100, and 74 KWHrs, the coffeemaker is nearly 20% of our net monthly energy use. I bet most of that is as a hotplate to keep the coffee warm for an hour after it's made. I'm paying 25 cents/KWHr for that convenience, which admittedly is not going to show up in our SWR. But it's the principle of the LBYM thing.

Next I'm monitoring the power strip on our familyroom TiVo. After that I'm going for the big energy user-- the livingroom TiVo/TV power strip. But I don't expect to see any behavior change from analyzing that data.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celany View Post
I started turning off my power strip (that has the computer, screen, speakers, 2 lights & my cell phone charger) off when I spent the night (or a few days) at my BF's & noticed that the bill went down about $20 a month.

Also now unplugging my laptop brick after I close my laptop for the night. Here's to hoping that will net a bit more savings.

Now if I can get my roommates to do the same, we might have even more success.
Umm, something seems wrong here. If your electric rates are like ours, then saving $20/month by turning it off at night implies that your power strip is drawing about 1000 watts. Power consumption even for a powerful desktop should be less than 10 watts in sleep mode.

I would expect you to save 10watts x 10 hours x 0.001 kilowatts per watt x 30 days x $0.06 dollars/kilowatt hour = $0.18 per month.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:40 PM   #15
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However over the last three months we've consumed 376, 330, and 352 KWHrs. (This is consumption, not counting photovoltaic production.)
Wow!! That is REALLY impressive to me.

Over the last three months I've consumed 419, 439, and 541 KWhrs, despite the fact that I live alone in a house that is just 1558 square feet, and my heat is not electric (other than the fan). My electricity bill averaged $63/month last year though it is less in the winter.

That just goes to show what an intelligent awareness of electricity consumption can do, as opposed to my less efficient "hey, whatever, I'll turn up the thermostat in the summer" approach.
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:14 PM   #16
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I've been playing around with some engineering log reviews. I think that I need an insulated single-cup (12 oz) coffee machine.

The Kill-A-Watt on my 24-oz Mr. Coffee logged 4116 hours as of today, which is just under 172 days, or a bit shy of three months. In that three months the coffeemaker used 61.42 KWHrs, or 15 watts. Doesn't sound like much, does it?

However over the last three months we've consumed 376, 330, and 352 KWHrs. (This is consumption, not counting photovoltaic production.) So assuming rough monthly averages of 20 KWHrs for the coffeemaker and 350 KWhrs overall, the coffeemaker is nearly 6% of our consumption.

Considering that our net energy use over the last three months was 140, 100, and 74 KWHrs, the coffeemaker is nearly 20% of our net monthly energy use. I bet most of that is as a hotplate to keep the coffee warm for an hour after it's made. I'm paying 25 cents/KWHr for that convenience, which admittedly is not going to show up in our SWR. But it's the principle of the LBYM thing.

Next I'm monitoring the power strip on our familyroom TiVo. After that I'm going for the big energy user-- the livingroom TiVo/TV power strip. But I don't expect to see any behavior change from analyzing that data.
Very interesting. I decided we could cut down on coffee costs by buying a coffee maker with a thermos flask that keeps the coffee hot without the use of the hot plate. This was not a power consumption thing but the fact that I find the hot plate tends to burn the coffee too much for my taste so I end up brewing another pot. The power consumption of the hot plate is an expense I hadn't even considered.

As it happens we save more on coffee using a different method. Our daily routine (Mon - Fri) is to get up, have a light breakfast, and go to the YMCA to exercise. A local restaurant, "The Egg and I", provides excellent coffee free of charge so we now get to the Y early and have our morning coffee there. (plus we usually have another cup or 2 after the exercise sessions).
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:25 PM   #17
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I save money by going to Dunkin Donuts for coffee. Think of all the electricity I'm saving! Wait a minute...
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:33 PM   #18
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... and my heat is not electric (other than the fan).
Ah, I think I see your problem right there. We don't have a thermostat-- just tradewind cooling and a house full of ceiling fans.

Solar water heater. EnergyStar appliances. Front-loading fast-spin washer (which takes a huge load off the dryer). Reflective window film. Compact fluorescents in all regular lights and some infrequently-used lights. Installing reflective foil insulation whenever we're in an attic or a void.

Ironically we've succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. This house is pretty darn cold from November-March, and even in mid-April a cold front will require blankets & long-sleeved t-shirts after sundown.

At this point one of our top-five expenses is cooling the south side of the house during the summer, which includes our livingroom's cathedral ceiling. We have an EnergyStar ceiling fan there as well as a couple solar-powered attic exhaust fans above the garage and upstairs bedroom. However our ceiling fans stay on for most of the daylight hours from July-October. We've added as much reflective foil insulation as we can, short of ripping off & replacing the cathedral ceiling/roof, but we could cut a hole high up on a livingroom wall and exhaust the ceiling air through yet another solar-powered exhaust fan. Spouse hesitates to let my thermodynamics engineering mess with her décor, though, so she's holding off until she finds a compatible decorative grating.

I'm not sure which uses more power-- our "ancient" 32" CRT TVs from the 1990s or an EnergyStar 42" LCD TV. I'll give it another 10 years or so to see if we can leapfrog to OLEDs. And someday we'll have to look at moving from CFs to LED lights.

I think the most concrete reduction we'll be able to make in our energy consumption will occur in 116 days when we empty the nest...
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:47 PM   #19
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I ran around the house a while back with my new kill a watt and measured a lot of stuff (and posted about it here). Here is what I found:

These use 1-2 watts:
cell phone charger
kid's ride on 4x4 toy - battery charger in standby
portable phone charger base
netbook on trickle charge
microwave (not in use)
32" CRT TV (turned off)

These use 3-4 watts:
laptop on trickle charge
AA battery charger (not charging anything)
10 year old 21" CRT monitor in sleep mode

Add all these up, and I "waste" 19 watts all the time having devices sitting there doing nothing. That equates to roughly $19 a year at my 7.5-8.5 cents per kWh rates. IMHO it is worth it to let these devices suck power since they are always ready to go.

The biggest surprise was my monster speakers for my desktop (with monster subwoofer!!) that use 9 watts whenever they are plugged in regardless of whether they are in suspend mode or blaring out the latest Lady Gaga hits (I have daughters).

Our annual electricity bill is $1200, so I doubt we are wasting $120 a year on phantom loads for devices in standby. It is likely our air conditioner sucking all the power since that causes our monthly consumption to go from 300-400 kWh during moderate months up to 1600 kWh in hot humid months. We do put the laptop in hibernate when not in use, the netbook goes into standby or more frequently hibernate. CRT monitors turned off. Desktops put into "sleep" or whatever they call it (only uses ~4 watts IIRC) - basically instant on with the touch of a button.

I guess for the uninitiated, these articles are helpful. We save probably $60 per desktop and $25 per laptop per year due to going to low power state when not in use. Plus saving on the a/c required to cool down after putting all that heat into the house. That might amount to a few hundred bucks in electricity savings. And our machines don't fall apart as quickly since they aren't running constantly.
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:54 PM   #20
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I'd say take care of the big things first. CFL lights is a huge one. Just looking at my living room, we have 6 bulbs at 60 watts each (incandescent) but 13 watts each CFL. We save 47 watts per bulb. Big deal right? Yes, big deal. Say we use them 8 hours a day on average. 8 * 47 * 6 * 30 / 1000 = 68 kWh a month. Or a little over $60 a year. Just lights in 1 room (that we use a lot). Way more cost savings than if we were to power down all our little devices when not in use. And that $60 a year understates the true savings since we also pay a lot to cool the house in the summer. That is $60 less heat being dumped into our house (really only $20 or so during the hottest months).
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