They are everywhere and are up all day. Commonly known as vampire power electricity or ‘voltage vampires’, these energy-sucking devices are costly points of power wastage. In Australia alone, around 2.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions are attributed to standby power alone. The cost to consumers, both residential and commercial amounts to $860 million each year.
Although modern devices are designed without standby power modes, the International Energy Agency believes that by 2030, there will be around 100 billion electronic devices connected online. They believe that government agencies need to be aware of these and create regulations to prevent these power-hungry devices from wasting energy. Irrespective of whether government agencies do create regulations, you have the power to combat vampire
To better understand how vampire power electricity affects your building’s energy efficiency, know more about it and how to deal with this phantom energy menace.
What is “Vampire Power Electricity” or “Voltage Vampires”?
Vampire power electricity is also known as “standby power” or “phantom load”. The term pertains to any appliance or gadget which still consumes power while it is turned off. Some examples of these devices are computers, monitors, laptops, microwave ovens, watercoolers, smart devices, and TV monitors (displayed in waiting rooms or reception areas). They may be powered down, but their adaptors are still consuming small amounts of power while plugged into a power point. If those adaptors are still warm to the touch, then you know these devices are still consuming electricity.
How do they affect energy efficiency?
Phantom loads are a menace, and they can affect your site’s energy efficiency. Determining the cost of these power vampires depends on these factors:
– Source of phantom loads
– Electrical costs in your area
– Energy consumed by appliances or gadgets while plugged in
Most equipment found in a typical office account for 30% of its monthly electricity bill. Photocopiers, for example, consume up to 1,300 watts while printing. If left unattended or on standby mode, it can still draw power for up to 300 watts.
Desktop computers and laptops consume about $150 worth of energy per unit annually. Imagine if your office has 10 of these on “sleep mode” after office hours. The power they consume while on standby will definitely be a “shocking” one once the bill arrives.
The worst voltage vampires are smartphone chargers. Employees leave their personal devices plugged in while working and forget to unplug them from their power points. Even if they automatically shut off after charging, they still draw power while plugged in.
These power vampires affect your building’s energy efficiency because of wasted power. The “extra” 20% on your monthly electric bill is due to these phantoms. Power wastage is not just about money lost: It is about increasing your commercial building’s carbon footprint and missing its sustainability goals.
Five Ways to Stop Vampire Power Electricity and be Energy Efficient
Stopping these energy vampires and phantom menaces of power is possible. There are ways to prevent these from siphoning money from your business. Here are some suggestions to ward off these unwelcome guests.
1. Commission an energy audit
Commissioning an energy audit will help you identify possible energy vampires and phantom loads. Since it will be conducted by qualified consultants, they can also provide cost-effective options to help improve your site’s energy efficiency.
2. Consider installing sensors, meters / sub-meters or even ‘Virtual Metering’
Having meters and submeters installed helps you to monitor energy usage and track any sources of phantom loads. A more advanced and potentially cost effective method is via Virtual Metering. Virtual metering refers to the leveraging of existing sensor data in order to derive other measurements that aren’t being monitored by real sensors. Virtual meters are also known as soft sensors when describing virtual sensing techniques.
2. Consider using smart power boards
Due to their busy schedules and workloads, employees may forget to unplug their devices before heading home. Installing smart power strips helps reduce or eliminate unwanted power consumption when people are out of the office. These power boards can be set to turn off idle devices to prevent them from consuming power. They are inexpensive and easy to use. Most smart power boards or plugs are Wifi-enabled and can be remotely monitored and connected devices can be turned off/on remotely via an App.
3. Make an inventory of all equipment
Take note of your energy auditor’s recommendations and take this time to make an inventory of all your site’s equipment. Start inspecting all your site’s areas which may include the toilets, storage facilities, common pantry, lobbies, and especially the offices.
Office cubicles or stations harbour these voltage vampires. Some of these include LED monitors, wireless printers, air dehumidifiers, smart devices, and even desktop or laptop headsets. Include these when making an inventory. Do not forget to compute the possible energy consumed by this equipment. The amount of wasted power from these vampires will show you its impact on your business’ electrical consumption.
4. Encourage employees to unplug their devices
A proactive way of saving electricity from energy vampires is by encouraging employees to unplug their devices. It sounds tricky but it will help your company save on costly monthly energy bills for up to 10% each month. Reward them with incentives (monetary or the like) to further encourage them to adopt this simple energy-saving practice at the workplace.
Vampire power electricity devices are everywhere and could be hiding in plain sight. The only way to banish these energy-hungry culprits is to take a proactive stance in implementing effective energy solutions. Take control of your office’s devices or consider energy-saving projects to help your company save money on power bills. A clove of garlic will not suffice against these power vampires, but smart energy solutions are effective against them.
Ecosave’s unique approach to energy savings and sustainability can help protect your company against these threats. Book a phone appointment with one of our experts by calling them at 1300 55 77 64. Let us help you save resources and money today!