When it comes to energy usage and its effect on our utility bill, we typically think of bigger devices, like lighting and large appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines. As mobile electronics become a bigger part of our lives, so do all the devices that come into our household. Cell phones, electric toothbrushes, iPads, electric razors, laptops, portable game systems — the list of mobile electronics we plug in keeps growing.
The significant increase of mobile electronics in our daily lives has had a profound impact on the amount of energy we consume. When you compare today’s residential energy consumption to ten years ago, you’ll see an increase of about 20%. A large portion of this increase is due to mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other handheld electronic devices. The way we charge these devices plays a significant role in energy consumption — we leave these devices plugged in when they don’t need to be.
How techy are you? If you’re the kind of person that likes to keep up with new gadgets, then you’ve probably got gadgets galore in your home. And, if you’ve got a household full of children, not only are you dealing with trying to get their attention away from their devices, you’ve got devices sucking energy. Have you ever taken the time to notice how many device chargers you have plugged into a power strip or outlet? It’s a mess of wires, and these devices are consuming energy, and tacking on the dollars to your energy bill. We call this additional type of energy draining vampire energy, phantom load or standby energy. Vampire energy can have a scary impact on your energy bill. Some households can have as many as 20 vampire devices unnecessarily plugged in. The EPA estimates that up to $10 billion worth of energy is sucked up by vampire energy power annually.
How to Improve Practices
Unplug your chargers when they aren’t active. There’s no need to keep your cell phone plugged in when it’s at full charge. Overcharging or frequent charging of your mobile device’s battery can do more harm than good — it can deplete your battery life. One thing you can do is invest in a smart energy strip. You can plug your charger into a smart energy strip, so when your phone is at its capacity, it automatically stops using electricity. These smart strips detect when your devices are on standby mode. This way, you can save your battery life and the life of the charger. Plus, the savings to your energy bill start to add up. Smart energy strips are ideal for a wide variety of mobile electronic devices that use a charger.
Another solution is to upgrade your mobile phone. If you’ve ever owned an older model phone, you know how fast the battery depletes itself, no matter how often you charge it. As hard as it may be to get rid of our old mobile phones and gadgets, you can upgrade to new models and enjoy a shiny device with battery power that won’t suck your energy consumption dry.
Mobile Apps to Help Reduce Energy Use (and lower your bill!)
Did you know there are mobile phone apps you can download to help you reduce energy costs? These are fantastic mobile apps to have, whether you own a small business or are looking for ways to reduce energy consumption at home. Certain apps can help you be pro-active. When you can closely monitor your usage, you can make the necessary changes to lower your bill. Here are some great mobile apps to consider.
We like this app because it allows you to see where energy is being used, in real-time, much like finding the best electricity rates in real time. With the Panoramic Power app, you can see where the electrical usage is at the circuit level. It displays everything consuming power in your home or business, from the HVAC to lighting, kitchen appliances, and other things plugged in, like power chargers for your mobile device. By knowing what’s draining energy, you can see where there’s excess usage. It’s compatible with Android, iOS and PCs.
Energy Cost Calculator
Here’s another great app for getting down to the nitty-gritty of energy consumption in your home or business. You can use the Energy Cost Calculator app to calculate the operating costs of energy usage of your plugged in equipment. You can use it to help you budget your energy bill by calculating the costs per day, week, and a month or by the year. Use it on your Android or iOS phone.
Do you want to know how much you spend throughout the seasons? With the EnergySaver app, you can get detailed reports on your electricity, water and natural gas usage. One of the great things about this app is how it can identify vampire energy. Works with Android and iOS.
Small devices are having a significant impact on our energy bill. The good news is that you can take charge of your energy budget with simple things like unplugging devices. Are you ready to switch electricity providers? You can shop for an electricity provider that sweetens the deal with bill credits based on your energy usage.