Stand-by Power

The average home is full of energy–using appliances. Some of them continue to use energy while on stand-by (turned off with a remote control) or not in active use. The main culprits are televisions and VCRs in stand-by mode. Other audio, video, office equipment and home electronic items also use a significant amount of energy in stand-by mode.

In Australia, stand-by power could be costing consumers around $500 million every year, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 5 megatonnes (CO2 equivalent) annually.

Source: The ENERGY STAR program

Wherever you see one of those tiny lights or digital displays, electricity is being used
to power them. While it is only a tiny amount, it does add up over a long period of time. Computer equipment, printers and some other appliances can also use small amounts
of electricity even when switched off and with no outward sign such as a light or display.
In some cases, this power serves no function and is often due to poor product design.
The simple solution here is to turn them off manually when they’re not in use and
unplug them from the wall.

You can also reduce stand-by wastage by avoiding poorly designed products.
Electronic appliances that are ENERGY STAR compliant have limits on the amount of electricity they draw on stand-by.

Identifying and limiting
stand-by power use


An appliance probably uses stand-by power if it has one or more of the following features:
  • There is no ‘off’ switch.
  • It has a remote control.
  • It has a soft touch keypad or controls.
  • It is warm to touch near the switch when turned off.
  • It charges the battery of a portable device.
To reduce stand-by and leak power wastage:
  • Switch off appliances rather than turning them ‘off’ with a remote control
    and leaving them on stand-by.
  • Switch off at the wall and unplug the appliances you use only occasionally.