Energy Efficiency and Phantom Load

Energy Efficiency and Phantom Load

A few weeks ago I attended the ORNL Sustainability Summit with the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and agreed to participate in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) Office of Energy Programs (OEP) new outreach and awareness campaign designed to reduce unnecessary “phantom” plug loads. To read more from the E.D.G.E. program, visit the Tennessee Energy Education Initiative’s page on the program. If you don’t know, “phantom load” is otherwise known as “vampire power” because it comes from your appliances, lamps, or other electrical appliances that are turned off, yet still “suck” power and increase your energy bill in the process. It was a pretty simple process. I was given a Kill-A-Watt meter and asked to record five different household devices while they were in standby mode. I chose things that were the most convenient to unplug and plug, such as my Iphone 5 charger, my VOX Guitar Amplifier, Mr. Coffee Coffeemaker, Samsung Clothes Washer, and a Sony DVD Player/Stereo. I have to say that was pretty shocked the most by the VOX Guitar Amplifier. The VOX on standby used 31.2 watts, equaling to 273.31 phantom kW hours per year (8,760) and equaled almost $30/year in energy cost. Considering that I have two guitar amplifiers plugged in at all times, I was wasting around $60/year just on those two devices. That’s $5/month and not even accounting for how much they use when I’m playing them. My full results were as follows: In one year, taking this into account and then just adding in the other guitar amplifier, I was throwing $6/month down the drain. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, consider the fact this is for devices that I’m not even using. They aren’t even on. Now add in all my televisions, my computers, my refrigerator, dryer. Can you imagine what the total amount could be? The amplifier led me to direct a question to a friend at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), who said he wasn’t shocked because guitar amplifiers are small niche that currently don’t have standards like most appliances, but that external power supplies might help. I’ll admit that I have worked on energy efficiency issues for more than 6 years and I’ve always been a bit skeptical about some claims. I’ve also been skeptical concerning the upfront costs that a lot of efficiency programs require, and have always pushed for policies that help those most effected by high energy bills, but don’t have the capital to do anything about it. Focusing on phantom load requires no cost at all and I was completely shocked at the amount of money I was wasting. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says that on average, 7.5...

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A Million Here, A Million There….

 Today’s Wall Street Journal posted the following : “Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the government would be left with just $30 billion cash on hand ‘no later’ than Oct. 17, and the Congressional Budget Office predicted these funds would be used up between Oct. 22 and Oct. 31 if legislation isn’t enacted to raise the ceiling on government borrowing. That little cash could make it difficult, if not impossible, for the government to pay the roughly $55 billion in Social Security, Medicare and military payments due Nov. 1. Lawmakers on Wednesday cast about for options to keep the government funded beyond Oct. 1, a separate deadline that is offering a taste of what a debt-ceiling fight might look like later in October. Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on how to avoid a government shutdown, with no path to a deal in sight.” I really wanted to scream, “are you kidding me?”  In today’s world of spending millions, billions and even trillions, if we don’t raise the ceiling on government borrowing, we would only have $30 billion cash on hand by October 17?  And we won’t be able to pay people on Social Security, Medicare and oh by the way we won’t be able to make our military payments either, leaving the spouses and children at home with no way to pay the electricity and food bills. I am astonished that this government that spends money like the proverbial “drunken sailor” on every kind of wasted programs you can imagine would only have $30 billion on hand.  That seems very trivial compared to the 16 or so trillion in debt that we currently have doesn’t it.  Here’s the number of debt held by the public on this day in September:  $11,964,783,769.751.11 (don’t you like adding the .11?)  and by intergovernmental holdings: $4,773,680,725,095.78.  I just thought I would type the numbers in so we can just realize what trillions really look like. Is there no fiscal sanity left?  Thirty billion left on hand???  We owe almost 17 trillion?  And then there is of course the political insanity that threatens to not pay Social Security, Medicare and our military.  Does anyone out there really believe that we won’t step up and pay those folks?  I am so frustrated with the lack of fiscal constraint by our President and most of the electeds in DC.  We simply have to get control of our spending and our debt and elect more people like Senators Corker and Alexander who have the courage to talk about the debt and its impact not only on us but our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We need another statesman like Senator Everett Dirksen who reportedly said about our...

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WHNT: Local Energy Savers Honored for Leadership, Innovation

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – This week, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance honored local companies and individuals helping to save energy in Huntsville. The group honored Mayor Tommy Battle, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and Nexus Energy Center. It’s all for the leadership and support of the Alabama WISE home energy upgrade program.  According to Mayor Battle, by helping residents save energy, it means more money put back into the local economy. See the full report...

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WAFF: Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance recognizes Huntsville, state efforts

Regional energy group recognizes Huntsville, state efforts By Budd McLaughlin – email WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) – The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance honored Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and Nexus Energy Center for their support of energy conservation and efficiency. The group cited the “Alabama Wise” home energy upgrade program. The program helps residents conserve energy while realizing the benefits of an energy-efficient home. Battle said energy is a strong economic selling point for Huntsville. Read more at...

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SRW’s Susan Williams Appointed to TVA Regional Energy Resource Council

SRW’s Susan Williams Appointed to TVA Regional Energy Resource Council

Congratulations to SRW’s Susan Williams for being appointed by Governor Haslam to the TVA Regional Energy Resource Council. The council will advise TVA staff on energy efficiency and clean energy issues.   KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Valley Authority has appointed 19 people to serve on a new Regional Energy Resource Council.When the TVA board established the council at its April meeting, officials said the council would advise staff on energy efficiency and renewable energy, among other things.According to the utility, the council members reflect a broad range of stakeholder views and backgrounds. They represent environmental, industrial, business, consumer, educational and community interests.Council Chairman is Dus Rogers, of Scottsboro, Ala., who is president and CEO of the Jackson County Economic Development Authority in Alabama.Read the full article...

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