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The Green Life: Green Your Gadgets -- Power Down

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September 25, 2008

Green Your Gadgets -- Power Down

Last week, congressional watchdog agency GAO published a report on high-tech toxic trash exports and Greenpeace released its ninth annual Guide to Greener Electronics. This week's tips cover ways to keep consumer electronics from harming human health and the environment.

Tip #4: Eliminate excess energy use

It's easy to grab your menagerie of mobile devices and leave chargers plugged in when you dash off to work. But chargers and gizmos left on standby pull electricity even when they seem to be turned off. This vampire power accounts for as much as $2.7 billion-worth of electricity use every year in the U.S., according to Power Management DesignLine. In a typical household, it represents about 5 percent of annual electricity costs, with plasma TVs, computers, and game consoles being some of the thirstiest offenders. If you want to reduce your contribution to the phantom load, you no longer have to run around pulling plugs: smart power strips like APC's Power-Saving Surge Arrest cut the juice automatically, and energy monitors help you figure out where to target your efforts for the biggest results.

Share your tips: Have you slayed vampire power in your home? Tell us how.

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