by Scott D. Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM

Adapted from a presentation at the Central Penn Business Journal’s Real Estate & Development Symposium.

Our symphony continues with another dark movement.

Plug load (electronics plugged into outlets) consumes 20-25% of a building’s energy use, whether or not the electronics are actually turned on!  You’ve probably heard the terms phantom or vampire power to refer to this unwanted drain on electricity.  But how did it get the nicknames?

It’s called “phantom load” because you don’t know it’s there, or “vampire load” because it sucks the electricity even when something (e.g., a computer) is sleeping!

The easiest way to avoid phantom load is to simply unplug your electronics when you are not using them, though I’ll admit that isn’t always feasible.

More practical is the liberal use of outlet strips.  Simply turn off the strips when the electronics are no longer in use, like when you go home for the day.  But what if you are forgetful?

Well, modern technology has a cure for that.  Consider investing in smart outlet strips for your office.  These strips will sense when electronics are not in use, and cut power to them.

It should be a no-brainer to turn off equipment and appliances like copy machines, printers, and coffee pots on evenings and weekends.  But this is a big energy hog that you may not even be thinking about.  These certainly don’t need to be left on, and really don’t even need to be plugged in.  So again, unplug them or turn off the outlet strip.

Here’s a bonus tip.  The last time you charged your phone, and then ran out of the office or house, did you remember to unplug your phone charger?  Probably not.  Even if your smart phone is not connected, the charger is still sucking power and picking money from your wallet!

•    The Energy Symphony: The Futures So Bright…I Gotta Wear Shades
•    The Energy Symphony

Next: Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto


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