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    The devices quietly running up your energy bills

    This is a discussion on The devices quietly running up your energy bills within the Everyday Life forums, part of the Community channel category; The devices quietly running up your energy bills - Telegraph Which uses more energy in standby mode, a computer or ...

    1. #1
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      The devices quietly running up your energy bills

      The devices quietly running up your energy bills - Telegraph
      Which uses more energy in standby mode, a computer or a phone charger? You might be surprised

      Most of us know that to cut our energy bills we should turn things like televisions and computer monitors off at the wall rather than leaving them in standby mode, which consumes power even when they’re not being used.

      But smaller gadgets and appliances quietly running in the background could be pushing your energy bills up much faster than you realised.

      The worst culprit in most homes is in fact a wireless router, which costs £21.92 a year on average while on standby, according to Ecotricity.

      The green electricity company has compiled a list of the worst household offenders and the results may come as a surprise.

      A laser printer for example costs £18.26 a year to leave on standby, while a desktop PC costs £3.65 and a plasma television costs £4.87.

      The Energy Saving Trust estimates that an average household will spend up to £80 a year powering appliances left on standby and not in use.
      Annual energy usage while on standby:

      Wireless Router (e.g. BT Hub) - £21.92
      Printer (Laser) - £18.26
      Set-top (Satellite) - £18.26
      Amplifier - £12.18
      Compact Hi-Fi - £12.18
      iPad charger - £12.18
      Nintendo Wii - £12.18
      Set-top box (Freeview) - £7.31
      Alarm Clock - £6.09
      Microsoft Xbox 360 - £6.09
      Modem - £6.09
      Sony PlayStation 3 - £6.09
      Air freshener plug-in - £4.87
      CD player / Tuner - £4.87
      Television (Plasma) - £4.87
      Video Player - £4.87
      Inkjet printer - £4.26
      Desktop PC - £3.65
      Nintendo DS - £3.65
      Oven (Electric) - £3.65
      Microwave - £3.04
      Television (CRT & LCD) - £3.04
      Mobile phone charger - £2.44
      PC monitor (CRT) - £2.44
      Electric toothbrush - £1.22
      Childs night light - £0.73


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    3. #2
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      Re: The devices quietly running up your energy bills

      I didn't think routers had a 'standby' mode I wouldn't think they use much more than £20 a year all in. I am also surprised at the vast difference between a STB and a TV.

      TomD


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      Re: The devices quietly running up your energy bills

      I appreciate that with the ever increasing costs of our electricity that some may be tempted to switch off their routers, but you are correct, they don't have a 'standby' mode.

      Switching them off isn't advised as this causes issues with broadband speed dropping.

      I don't know much about the BT Home Hub with regards to their energy efficiency. I am aware that the Sky Hubs do reduce their power consumption when they are not busy though.

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      Re: The devices quietly running up your energy bills

      Quote Originally Posted by Isitme
      I didn't think routers had a 'standby' mode
      Same story with:

      Mobile phone charger - £2.44
      Electric toothbrush - £1.22

      Wasn't sure if that meant whilst charging or not at first.
      Then realised it's over an entire year, so must mean plugged in, switched on but not charging anything.

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      Re: The devices quietly running up your energy bills

      Putting my cynical hat on, here we have a self interest government funded organisation (quango?) publishing a set of "facts" to get publicity and justify their existence.

      Looking at the figures they don't pass the sanity test and I expect they are all worse case examples to make it more newsy. Taking the first item, a router, my calculations show that the device would have to be drawing around 20 watts an hour, every hour, 24/7. That seems very high for a router and power draw on such a device is never constant (idle v busy) and will depend on whether wireless is on/active etc. They, or the Telegraph have given the BT Home Hub as an example. I bet BT have fired off a complaint and request for correction and/or caveat by now. Ditto Sky for the satellite box - I doubt those are the eco mode figures.

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      Re: The devices quietly running up your energy bills

      Of course such reports are there to publicise some quango or another. Yes we can point out lots of flaws too.

      The 'Set-Top Box (Satellite)' does not make it clear which model it was based upon. Was it a Freesat+ HD box that was bought a few years ago? Perhaps it was an old Thomson model of the Sky+ STB. The "BT Hub" is just as ambiguous. They are currently on version 5.

      It is fairly obvious that they haven't gone for the latest kit across the whole selection. They give the figure for the Playstation 3 & Xbox 360, both have a range of variations which were made and both are no longer the 'current' model being purchased by devoted gamers.

      Just as many holes can be poked at the 'Mobile phone charger'. Which one? I upgraded from the S2 to the S4 earlier this year, Each charger has very different power outputs and no doubt they consume different amounts when not in use.

      All this is before we even consider which electric tariff someone might be on.

      The 'Television (CRT & LCD)' figure is most definitely questionable. My old CRT TV consumed a lot more electric in standby mode than my new one does, I checked (sad, I know). My new one also consumes considerably less than the CRT TV did when in use too.

      Sky have been updating the SkyHD and Sky+ HD range of STBs for the past couple of years. These updates are rolled out overnight. If someone were to unplug the STB at night, then they would be unable to get any of the updates.

      Channel changes are also often rolled out overnight. I suspect that many Freeview STBs would also have many issues if they were switched off at night.

      I think the point to take from this article isn't so much the potential accuracy of the figures, but a comparative study and an awareness.

      I also personally think that each time a council turns down planning permission for wind turbines, that they should have their electric cut off. Fossil fuels have a finite live span. The UK is very far behind the rest of Europe, so much so that Danmark, for example, is exporting their electric which is produced by wind or solar.

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      Re: The devices quietly running up your energy bills

      Quote Originally Posted by Scubbie View Post
      I also personally think that each time a council turns down planning permission for wind turbines, that they should have their electric cut off.
      You obviously don't know anyone who lives close to one and by close I mean within a mile or so. The noise is constant and very intrusive - even worse than living near a fast road. That of course is putting aside the aesthetics of littering our skyline with massive whirling machinery. We would need to practically cover the country to get sufficient turbines to meet our power needs. But when it's not windy we will have to have other sources as you can't store significant power so we'll be doubling up. What may or may not be right in one country isn't necessarily right in the UK. We have a far higher population density than most and unique weather patterns compared to other areas due to our geographic location and proximity to the track of both the jet stream and the gulf stream.

      Even if none of those things are enough there's the issue of their cost. No turbines so far installed have a payback within their operating life i.e. they will have to be decommissioned well before the value of the electricity generated exceeds their cost.

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      Re: The devices quietly running up your energy bills

      In many cases the National Grid have been paying people with wind turbines to turn them off.

      This is because it takes a comparatively long time to start up a coal powered power station.

      It is possible to store power. Unfortunately this does require the use of lots of large lead acid batteries at the present time.

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      Re: The devices quietly running up your energy bills

      The only efficient and practical way so far devised to store significant amounts of energy is through kinetic energy in stored water i.e. behind massive dams or in huge reservoirs with water pumped up the gravity gradient until released*. The scale of the requirement would require civil engineering works of a scale never achieved so far anywhere in the world. Incredibly expensive and incredibly environmentally impactfull.

      Sufficient lead acid batteries to meet just the power needs of a single household would take up the space of the average garden. Municipal (street lighting etc), business and industry needs are orders of magnitude greater than this. Not remotely practical. Not enough space, way too costly and I doubt there's enough lead in the world.


      * to give some sense of scale consider the proposed tidal barrier across part the Bristol Channel. Trillions of tons of water stored to be released, generating little more than one average modern power station. Many billions of pounds in cost. The environment permanently changed. Wildlife destroyed much like wind turbines. Take a walk around the base of one. It won't take you long to spot the dead birds killed by the near supersonic wind vortices through flying too close. Place a bunch of them (as they have) in the path of a bird migration route and see what that does.

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      Re: The devices quietly running up your energy bills

      Jeremy Clarkson is fond of pointing out that science will eventually find a way to harness hydrogen & store it in fuel cells, thus providing energy for the whole worlds needs.

      Although some say...
      That Clarkson creates enough wind to power the uk as it is.

     

     
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