Your Impact on Energy Use: Tip #1 Plug Loads

There was a recent article in the Environmental Building News that discussed the need for occupants (you!) to understand how they impact the energy use and the efficiency of their homes and businesses through their day to day choices. Design of a home can allow for opportunities and an environment for green living to take place, but it’s really up to you as a home owner to make the most of those opportunities through your choices. This is especially true for energy efficiency and the lower energy bills that come as a result. To help you understand how your choices affect the efficiency of your home, lets take a look at a breakdown of annual energy use in an average home (these percentages are found on the EnergyStar website):

29% Heating

17% Cooling

14% Water Heating

13% Appliances

12% Lighting

4% Electronics

11% Other (external power adapters, telephones, set up boxes, ceiling fans, vent fans, home audio, ovens, microwaves, small appliances etc. Basically all the little things plugged in around your home)


How can you affect that 4% + 11% of Electronic energy use?

Tip #1 Plug Loads: This 15% of energy usage can be summarized as plug loads. You can decrease your overall energy use in this category by unplugging items that are not in use or using power strips so that multiple electronic devices can be “unplugged” at once. This decreases "phantom loads" in your home, or in other words eliminates the energy that is drawn by products when they are not in use but still plugged into the wall. This is an easy tip to help reduce your energy bill. All you have to do is get into the habit of unplugging electronic devices!

For more detailed information about phantom loads and plug loads, read one of our previous blog entries about Cutting Useless Energy Use. We'll also be giving you tips throughout the rest of the week concerning the other major uses of energy in your home. Be sure to keep on reading!