Yawning, you turn off the television. You check the time on your coffeemaker as you get a glass of water from the kitchen—oh! It's late. No time to send that last email out tonight-instead you power down the computer. Then, you head to bed.
But like a vampire, the devices you switched off may not be resting peacefully once the sun goes down. Many household appliances go into what is known as "standby power mode" when they've been switched off. It's what keeps your DVR recording when the television is off and the clock working on the coffee maker when it's not brewing.
And standby power mode can suck—a lot of energy, that is. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, between 5 to 10% of residential electricity use goes toward powering appliances in standby power mode. The biggest offenders tend to be televisions, cable boxes, and computer notebooks.
Unplugging your television may not be a practical option every night, but as you plan summer vacations, consider unplugging some of these energy vampires, and you can reap significant energy savings—no wooden stakes or garlic bulbs required.
Lynn Meyer is a Presidential Management Fellow on detail with EERE's Communications and Outreach office in Washington, D.C.