I’ve long believed in the idea that most electronics power saving modes are very low power and left the stuff in my office on when not in use. However I decided to challenge that belief with my kill-a-watt power meter and was surprised to find enough power use to change my habits.
To start out I separated my power strips into two sections – things that need to stay on like the cable modem and router vs. things I only need during work hours like the PoE switches, printer, usb hub, etc.
Once I did that split it was easy to review the power use of the “work hours only” equipment. What I found is power saving modes do work, there was a 20 watt reduction when things went to power saving mode. However that still left about 40 watts being used by stuff I didn’t need outside of work hours.
While turning off stuff when not at work seems trivial (I’ll just be there the next morning) work hours are only about 1/4 of a year. So 3/4 of the power I was using was wasted. Turning off the power to that equipment in my case saves 263kwh annually, or about $34/year for the national average power rate and nearly 400lbs CO2.
If you happen to be the forgetful type you can pick up a smart plug for about $25 which can automate the scheduling and can be overridden as needed with a touch of a button or an app.
Even if you don’t have a home office this can apply to any number of things – your living room electronics for example can have a gaming system, set top box, etc wasting your power when you’re not using it.