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Switch It Off!

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 9 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Switch It Off!

With mass media messages about global warming, energy price rises and carbon emission reductions, it seems that we’re all looking for ways of saving money and may need to adapt our energy-guzzling habits to comply with new government targets to reduce pollution.

One way in which we can achieve these goals is by switching off!

Over-run with Electronic Gadgets

Almost every home now boasts a whole host of gadgets, games, and gizmos which seem to get re-designed, replaced, and renewed with each passing year, at great cost to us - and to the environment. In fact British people were recently labelled the worst in Europe at wasting energy.

But by making a few simple changes to the way in which we buy, dispose, and use the products we love so much, we can enjoy our 21st century lifestyles without feeling quite so guilty. Here’s the low-down on what a difference you can make just by switching them off.

Don’t Leave Appliances on Standby

When so many appliances these days rely on internal timers, Internet access, have external clocks, or need constant re-charging, it's no wonder that we have got into the bad habit of leaving products on standby.

For instance while TV’s used to be easily switched off at the wall, now they have clocks and network systems which would require re-setting, or while we used to pick up the receiver of a 'phone to make a call, now we rely on fully-charged mobiles to make our calls or answer phones to take messages for us, prompting us to leave them plugged in.

Messages have also been very mixed, with manufacturers telling us that leaving appliances on standby uses hardly any energy at all, or that computers will automatically switch to energy-saving mode. But while this is true in part, it is not the whole story.

Appliances on Standby DO use Energy

Nearly three quarters of us leave products on standby, thinking that they are not draining much electricity.

However, 8-10 percent of all the energy we use in our homes is accounted for by appliances left on with some items still using a quarter of their usual power whilst in standby mode.

In fact, each year one million tons of greenhouse gas is added to the atmosphere in the UK just by appliances being left on standby and if all of these were turned off at the wall, then well over two and a half million homes could be powered for a year on the energy saved.

How much Money Can I Save by Switching Off?

Savings are variable depending on how many appliances you have which are regularly left on for long amounts of time, or overnight. However, an average house could certainly shave between £35 and £65 off their electricity bill each year just by remembering to turn things off at the wall.

But its not only hard cash that you could save – your CO2 saving will also be substantial – almost 10 percent of your domestic carbon footprint. One estimate likens it to about the same saving as the energy used driving a car for 820 miles.

Standby Phasing Out

As part of its campaign to reduce carbon emissions, the Government is pushing for standby buttons to be phased out and recent legislation will mean that we should see the end to the little red light in years to come.

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