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U = Unplug


Do you tell your kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room? Most of us know that leaving a light on in an empty room is wasteful. However, even eco-conscious adults often waste massive amounts of unnecessary energy by leaving unused appliances plugged in. It’s estimated that the passive energy loss from electrical appliances ranging from TVs to garage door openers generates more than 6 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year in the United States. That’s enough leaking electricity to light more than 26 million homes. The solution? Don’t just turn it off, unplug it!

Approximately 23% of the total electricity used by a TV is from standby loss.

Simple Steps

  • Shut down your computer. When you’re finished with the computer, shut down and unplug the machine. This might also help you reduce the amount of time you spend online or obsessively checking email.
  • Unplug the TV. Make a habit of unplugging the TV every night before you go to bed. In many houses, that could mean preventing energy leak for 12-18 hours each day.
  • Unplug in the bathroom. Keep your counters clear by unplugging and putting away personal care items like toothbrushes or hair trimmers immediately after use.
  • Switch to voicemail. Electronic answering machines leak a significant amount of energy. See if your phone company offers digital voicemail instead.
  • Unplugging what you don’t use means you can stop paying for the energy you’re not really using!

Learn More

An article on ScienceNews.org provides a list of common appliances that leak energy when plugged in and tells you how much energy you could save by unplugging. You can use the U.S. Department of Energy’s Standby Power Data Center to find products that have low standby power.