By Mia Foster
You unplug your phone and pour yourself coffee. It’s a slow morning, without too much to do. While you decompress, the devices you used continue to aimlessly draw power; your phone may be unplugged and the coffee may be brewed, but they use electricity nonetheless. According to climate journalist Tatiana Schlossberg, about three quarters of our devices use electricity even when they are “off,” causing about a quarter of the average American’s electricity consumption to be used by idle devices (Schlossberg 56-58). The wasted electricity caused by this phenomenon, often referred to as “vampire power,” is costly in terms of electricity bills and environmental impact.
So how do we reduce the amount of electricity idle devices use? Luckily, this is a rather simple fix. One option is to put multiple devices on a power strip, which allows you to fully turn off many appliances at once. This has the same effect as unplugging, as it completely stops the use of electricity (Schlossberg 62). Another small lifestyle habit is to simply unplug devices when you are done using them instead of turning them off. I started a habit of unplugging my phone charger along with my phone in the morning. You can unplug your coffee maker when your pot is brewed and unplug lamps when you turn them off. These simple changes can add up to a large amount of electricity, allowing us to protect our wallets and the environment at the same time.
Schlossberg, Tatiana. “Vampire Power.” INCONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION: the Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have, by Tatiana Schlossberg, GRAND CENTRAL PUB, 2020, pp. 56–62.