by Richard T. Stuebi
In a world where people are both tightening their fiscal belts and aiming to reduce their environmental footprint, the topic of standby power — sometimes called “vampire loads” — has gained increasing attention.
Vampire loads surround you all the time, from just about anything with digital intelligence. These appliances suck surprising amounts of power all the time they are plugged in, even when they’re not actually being used.
A recent post on the Yahoo! Green blog provided some very interesting statistics, developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. For someone paying 11 cents/kwh (pretty typical for the average American), a household can easily blow hundreds of dollars per year on vampire loads. The big culprits are computers, cable boxes and video game players.
According to the post, on a national basis, these silent killers could account for perhaps $4 billion of wasted money in aggregate. Ouch! A sizable market opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop products or services that can put a stake through the heart of these vampires.
Richard T. Stuebi is the Fellow for Energy and Environmental Advancement at The Cleveland Foundation, and is also the Founder and President of NextWave Energy, Inc. Later in 2009, he will also become Managing Director at Early Stage Partners.